State Now Plans Online-Only Hearing on Proposed $19 Million North Avenue Reconstruction

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

Although implied to be a local, in-person meeting, the state apparently is moving online a public hearing on plans to reconstruct North Avenue in Haverhill.

The “public design hearing” by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation previews the $19 million project comes with compliant sidewalks and granite curbing on both sides of North Avenue, bike lanes, narrower traffic lanes, drainage, utility upgrades and relocations, new intersections with “geometric improvements” at the Gile Street and mini-roundabout at Marsh Avenue. The existing North Avenue bridge over Snows Brook will be replaced and Frye Pond drained. The meeting still takes place Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 6:30, but residents must register online here, locking out those without internet access.

“The purpose of this hearing is to provide the public with the opportunity to become fully acquainted with the proposed project on North Avenue, from Main Street (Route 125) to Plaistow, N.H. All comments submitted in response to the hearing will be reviewed and considered to the maximum extent possible,” transportation officials said in release Friday. The release made no mention of any in-person meetings. Previously, it was suggested a public hearing would take place in Haverhill City Hall.

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.

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.

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