Although actual construction began months ago, ground was ceremonially broken Tuesday for “The Beck,” a 290-unit housing development, park, restaurant and retail complex along the Merrimack River in Bradford. The ceremony also called attention to planned roadway improvements aimed at relieving a bottleneck at the intersection of South Elm Street, Blossom Street, Laurel Avenue and Railroad Avenue near the Joseph C. Comeau Bridge. Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini praised the developer and the state for the upgrade. He said, “I want to thank the Procopio Companies for working with us. I want to thank the state for this $2 million MassWorks grant that’s going to finally improve traffic and pedestrian signaling in this area to make the great project we know it will be.”
These improvements include updated traffic signals and coordination with lights on the Haverhill side of the bridge; realigning Laurel Avenue with South Elm Street to reduce open pavement areas, driver confusion and pedestrian crossing lengths and provide additional separation from the Blossom Street; realigning Railroad Avenue with South Elm Street to improve transit bus maneuverability constrained by the existing bridge abutments; constructing bicycle lanes to provide a direct connection from the surrounding area to the Bradford Rail Trail; reconstructing sidewalks and installing an enhanced pedestrian crossing; install traffic signals at two intersections to clearly define driver rights-of-way and providing exclusive pedestrian crossing phasing; and fixing deterioration of the existing road surface.