Facing a do-or-die situation for the completion of major off-site roadwork this summer, and a slower-than-expected work schedule on an Eversource project, Encore Boston Harbor and the City of Everett have announced that the areas of Beacham, Dexter and Robin Streets will basically be closed off from Aug. 8 through October.
The change – which will also encompass Lower Broadway/Route 99 is expected to have major impacts on Charlestown – including Sullivan Square, Rutherford Avenue, and perhaps some side streets like Medford Street.
Many had hoped that the work could get done side-by-side, and by making the Eversource transmission line project and the Encore traffic project a dual project – it could bring down the pain associated with so much construction work in one small location.
However, that ended up not happening, said Everett Planner Jay Monti, who indicated that Eversource moved too slow on their project. That, in turn, has put things in jeopardy for the casino to get its work done before the end of the outdoor construction season – which closes in early November when the asphalt plants shut down.
“Due to delays in permitting and obstructions on the road, Eversource has gotten behind schedule to the point it’s going to threaten Encore in getting its [off-site] roadwork done and without that work they can’t open the casino next year. We’re up against a wall and the only way to get it to work is to go 24 hours a day and essentially shut down the roads…Things got critical last week and Eversource was just not making progress. Encore came to us and said they can’t wait any longer. They can’t risk not opening up the casino on time because of the Eversource project running behind.”
The shut-down began on Aug. 8, and will run for about 10 weeks into October so that Eversource can work around the clock, three shifts, to get their work in the area done and move on to Chelsea and East Boston. Following that, the shutdown will allow Encore to work around the clock to get the work done that has been held up due to Eversource running behind. That work also includes off-site improvements in Sullivan Square and Rutherford Avenue.
Everett’s Monti said the corridor will be open to pedestrians and bicycles during the 10-week shutdown.
To be clear, though, the roads will be open for drivers, but it will be more than difficult to get through at all hours of the day. So, they are suggesting people use other ways to get places like the airport, the Produce Center and other areas.
“For all intents and purposes, it’s closed because anyone who goes down there will sit in traffic for three hours,” he said. “We want to send a message to people who use that corridor. If you’re a cabbie going to or coming from the airport, you have to take the Tobin and pay the toll. If you’re a delivery driver for Amazon, we don’t want you in that area because this work needs to get done. If you’re a driver for the Produce Center, we encourage you to take Rt. 16 and Second Street into Chelsea.”
Monti also advised residents that it would be wise to simply stay away from the entire Lower Broadway area, including Rt. 99, through October.
“We’ve got to rip a Band-aid off and allow Eversource to get in there and work two or three shifts to get this done,” he said.