The signs of spring in the South End are almost always accompanied by the chirping of the birds, the flowering of the dogwoods and roaring return of trench cutters ready to rip up streets for a summer full of water line work.
The Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) will be undertaking several more water line replacement projects in the South End this summer, neighbors were told during Tuesday’s South End Forum meeting.
Irene McSweeney, director of construction for BWSC, relayed the latest news that BWSC would be putting out to bid very soon a project that will entail a major water-main replacement along Massachusetts Avenue in the South End on the east side of Tremont Street.
That project includes replacing water mains on Massachusetts Avenue westbound from Albany to Tremont streets; Mass Avenue eastbound from Shawmut to Albany; and Northampton Street from Washington to Albany.
“That project is still in design and will probably go out to bid in a month,” said McSweeney. “So, they will probably start in the end of the summer. We’ll probably do the small streets first. The most difficult part will be Albany at Mass Avenue. That not easy because it’s a tough intersection and there will have to be a water main shutdown that will affect BMC.”
That newly announced project was one of several detailed at the Forum on Tuesday, with another major project unveiled for the Albany Street corridor.
That project runs from East Berkeley Street to East Concord Street, nearly the entire length of the corridor – and it will be done at times in conjunction with the gas company, which is going to be working on a leak near Malden Street.
“We’ll be starting that new project on Albany Street very soon,” she said. “It’s a major water-main project…They’ll be working from East Berkeley all the way to East Concord replacing a 12-inch and 16-inch water main. That one will be more difficult further down because we also have to interface with medical institutions.”
On that project, work hours will be different than normal, with work hours from East Berkeley to Union Park going from 5 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. From Union Park to East Canton, they will work 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. She said they will have two crews working at once on either end, with both meeting in the middle.
Right now, BWSC is working on a major replacement at Rutland Square and on part of Worcester Street (west of Tremont), which they will finish up by May 11, she said.
“We anticipate everything there will be done by the end of May,” she said.
The other side of Worcester Street is also scheduled to be done, but right now the gas company is working there, so that project is on hold for the moment.
Instead, they will move on to a water main project on Shawmut Avenue, East Newton Street and parts of Harrison Avenue.
The Shawmut Avenue project is the largest and will go from East Brookline to Massachusetts Avenue. The Harrison Avenue stretch will go from Malden Street to East Canton, and the East Newton project will run from Albany Street to Franklin Square. Another piece of that project will be on Albany Street from East Concord to Massachusetts Avenue.
McSweeney said residents on any project routes will be notified with door hangers two weeks in advance of the start of work.
Nevertheless, it will be another summer of heavy work in the South End.