WE ARE HOMETOWN NEWS.

May Hollow Brook flows through a culvert under North Westfield Street, as cars pass by.

Reminder Publishing photo by Tyler Lederer

AGAWAM — After months of delays, North Street reopened on April 26. The culvert repair project that closed the road had its completion date shifted from last December to mid-April due to broken machinery at a Vermont plant producing construction materials, and the asphalt production plants’ mandatory winter break.

“The town certainly, I’m sure, is happy it’s done,” said North Street resident and City Councilor Dino Mercadante. “It looks really nice. It is built to the degree it can be built for safety.”

The road became a hot topic on social media, and Mercadante confirmed he heard complaints about it. As a councilor, he said he did his best to explain it to constituents.

When a road reopens, he said there’s usually people saying phrases like, “Thank God” and “I’m so happy,” before they quickly move on with their lives. He said he saw it himself with North Road for about two to three days.

Speaking as a private citizen, Mercadante said he’s happy to see the reduction in rush hour traffic in Feeding Hills Center.

“That makes a big difference trafficwise, especially now that we’re coming into spring and the summer,” he said.

Time has yet to tell, though, what Agawam residents think about the May Hollow culvert replacement project, which Public Works Superintendent Mario Mazza said will close portions of North Westfield Street this summer.

“We are worried that at some point it will collapse and the road will collapse” unless repaired, he said.

The project, Mazza said, is a “duplicate effort” of North Street. It will replace the “deteriorated” and “cracked” concrete culvert that allows May Hollow Brook to flow under North Westfield Street with a new aluminum structure. Work will take place next to the May Hollow Pump Station between Parkedge Drive and Provin Mountain Drive, approximately a minute’s drive from the Westfield line.

The work is estimated to cost $2.5 million, said Mazza, and the town will pay for it with American Rescue Plan Act funds.

While removing the existing culvert, he said, there is a chance electricity and gas may go off for a day, but the services won’t be cut. As well, during some of the work, May Hollow Brook may be redirected around the construction site. The Conservation Commission will be consulted, he said, so that this is done in an environmentally friendly way.

Lareto Construction is scheduled to start work in early June, so the road closure will likely start then. Mazza said he expects the project and road closure will end in September, assuming nothing catastrophic happens.

“This project does not require the same materials [as North Street] — that’s not to say something else can’t break — so, we’ve eliminated that from being a problem again,” said Mazza.

How much of the road will be closed depends on Lareto Construction’s detour plan, which it has yet to submit to the town for approval. The project will create a hole in the ground, Mazza said, which will close the road to traffic both ways and will require drivers to find an alternate route.

When the road closes, the DPW will let residents know through social media, the Reverse 911 phone alert system and the town website. The 20 closest homes to the construction site may also receive a letter in the mail, Mazza said.

“Just be aware that it’s coming and look for those media alerts to stay tuned on when it’s closing and how long it’s going to be closed,” he said.

Mazza said he appreciates people’s patience during projects. He also said he expects the May Hollow project to go better than North Road, and that the town has learned its lessons from that experience.

“We’re going to get this done as quickly as we can,” he said.

tlederer@thereminder.com | + posts