TEWKSBURY — Massachusetts has two seasons —“winter and construction” — so the saying goes. Route 38 in Tewksbury seems to be following the forecast as detours are occurring up and down the town’s main stretch of road.
According to Town Engineer Kevin Hardiman, water line replacement is happening in advance of the much anticipated resurfacing of Route 38, a state road. The work is being conducted by the Tewksbury DPW from Old Boston Road to Marshall Street. The replacement of water mains includes upsizing to larger ductile iron pipe, a necessity with more homes and businesses along Main Street. There will also be some maintenance repaving by the state, a fortunate consequence of some monies the state made the town aware of in mid-June and which Hardiman and his team scrambled to take advantage of by August.
Said Hardiman, “We are moving to 12” pipe from 8”. The infrastructure was installed in the 1950s and we need to support homes, development, condominiums and the general increased demand for water that brings.”
Additional work that residents may notice along Route 38 is the installation of new poles in support of a new substation by National Grid, replacing the old one next to the police station. While concurrent, this is unrelated to the water main replacement work. When Main Street is fully reconstructed in 2021, National Grid will conduct gas main replacement in advance of that project as well.
Hardiman said that the Main Street/South Street/Salem Road work is going out to bid this month, moving the major redesign and upgrade of that dangerous intersection forward in South Tewksbury. Residents may already see some of the marking of the roadway in preparation for this project, and National Grid will also be out at the site doing gas main work prior to construction.
Water distribution upgrades from North Street to Victor Drive will also commence with the abandonment of the old 8” pipe. All homes and businesses will be tied to the more reliable 20” ductile iron main and again, this is in preparation for the MassDOT 2021 roadway project. A problem section of pipe on South Street from MacLaren Road to Brown Street will be replaced in advance of resurfacing as well.
While residents may be frustrated in the short term with delays and detours, the long term improvements will address a host of issues that have long been nagging the town and provide much needed infrastructure support for the town’s water delivery systems and roadways.