STONEHAM - The town's construction-related traffic woes likely won't end soon.
With Eversource officials finalizing arrangements to break ground on a high-voltage underground transmission line later this spring, National Grid recently appraised town officials that its workforce also plans to replace gas lines along recently excavated portions of Main Street.
Town Administrator Dennis Sheehan during a Town Hall meeting last Tuesday night explained the natural gas distributor will target outdated infrastructure along portions of Route 28 that were disturbed by the Mass. Water Resource Authority's (MWRA) water pipeline project.
Crews could begin appearing within the next few weeks, when motorist traveling on Main Street between Friendly's Restaurant and Marble Street can expect to stumble across traffic delays due to travel lane closures.
"When the MWRA went down Main Street, it did highlight the need for the gas line to be replaced in a timely manner," said Sheehan. "National Grid is going out there to start to replace that gas line. They'll be [leaving informational fliers all around the] neighborhood."
"Public works is working with the [company] on public outreach. I wouldn't say the effort will be as vast as what Eversource is doing [for its 345Kv transmission line], because they won't be shutting down whole lanes of traffic. Motorists should be able to get through that area."
The MWRA's pipeline project, which entailed the installation of redundant 48-inch service line between Spot Pond and the Reading line, finally wrapped up last fall after years of continuous excavation work and major traffic inconveniences in south Stoneham.
Though the last spur of the massive public works project interrupted the quality-of-life for those living by Spot Pond, the first years of the MWRA project along Oak and Cottage Street were marred by numerous complaints about rodents, damaged lawns and driveways, cracked foundations from blasting activity, and home flooding incidents.
According to the town administrator, during the course of the next year, the MWRA expects to begin the full restoration and repaving of all impacted roadways — including portions of Marble, Main, and Cottage Streets that were covered with patches and temporary asphalt for the winter season. Oak Street has already been restored.
Though acknowledging Stoneham residents and merchants have put up with major interruptions to their daily lives — with even more expected due to the Eversource project — Sheehan said the town will ultimately benefit in the long-run from the major upgrades to public utility and roadway infrastructure.
"Hopefully, it puts us in the position where everything underground is solid. The site of that [gas] line was on National Grid's capital needs list and we don't want to be delaying them," he said.