Centre/South streets tracks to go underground


Work to begin April 22

A road and sidewalk repair project on Centre and South streets that will include paving over the long-abandoned trolley tracks running down JP’s main thoroughfare is set to begin April 22.

In addition to repaving the street, the project—projected to cost about $1 million—will include repairs to bring the sidewalks into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, said Frank O’Brien, assistant commissioner for the Boston Public Works Department, the city department overseeing the project.

The first phase of the project will be sidewalk work between New Washington Street and the Monument at the intersection of South and Centre streets, O’Brien said.

It is estimated it will take them four to six weeks to complete that work, at which point repaving from the New Washington end of the street will begin.

From there, both the sidewalk and the roadway work will continue down to the intersection of Centre Street and S. Huntington Avenue. It is anticipated the work will be done in August.

All of the work between New Washington Street and the Monument and between Green Street and S. Huntington will be done between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Work on the section between the Monument and Green Street—the heart of the Centre Street business district—will be done at night.

O’Brien said the late-night work will be a little more expensive but the intention is to minimize the inconvenience to local businesses and residents.

“By the time you are starting to go to work, we are out of there,” he said.

As work progresses, parking will be restricted on sections of the street, O’Brien said, but a two-way traffic flow will likely be maintained throughout the duration.

The sidewalk work will include widening sidewalk ramps and possibly moving telephone poles. There will be no sidewalk widening, O’Brien said.

For the repaving, the roadway will be ground down on either side of the trolley tracks and repaved. The tracks themselves will be covered over with a rough binding coat of asphalt and then surfaced with a finer coat in the same process that was used to cover the tracks along S. Huntington between Heath Street and Centre Street several years ago.

“Nobody would know there are tracks under there,” O’Brien said.

The sidewalk work is projected to cost $650,000 and the roadway work $350,000, O’Brien said.

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