The public has a chance to preview plans later this month for the $19 million reconstruction of a two-mile stretch of North Avenue, including sidewalks, bridge over Snow Brook and removal of Frye Pond Dam.
Traffic concerns in the area came to a head in 2015 when the Haverhill City Council voted unanimously to reject a proposed 90-unit congregate care complex off North Avenue. The body, settling a lawsuit, later approved a downsized, 64-unit assisted living proposal. At the time, developer Continental Wingate Development Co. agreed to kick in up to $400,000 to address traffic issues. Last year, Mayor James J. Fiorentini said Haverhill was able to leap ahead of other project requests, calling the federal and state commitments the largest transportation investment in the city’s history. City Engineer John H. Pettis III gave a project overview last March.
“We’re actually looking to remove the dam as part of this project. There will be a replacement bridge. We’ll widen away from the pond and we’ll wind up with a much wider structure at the end of the day,” he explained.
It also includes repaving, new sidewalks and bike lanes as well as improved drainage, tree plantings and roadway redesign for improved safety. A number of intersections will be realigned or reconstructed including North Avenue at Main Street, North Avenue at Marsh Avenue and Tenadel Avenue, North Avenue at Concord Street and Concord Place and North Avenue at Gile Street and West Gile Street.
The city is responsible only for $1.2 million in design costs, which the City Council authorized nearly three years ago. The rest of the project will be paid 80% by the Federal Highway Administration and 20% by the state.
Massachusetts Department of Transportation hosts the public hearing Wednesday, Jan. 25, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Room 301 at City Hall.
Actual construction is scheduled to begin during the spring of 2027.