The Town of Reading is reaching out to residents and businesses regarding downtown construction this winter. While no town construction has been ongoing on Haven Street from Thanksgiving to Christmas, work will commence on December 27, 2022 to the end of January 2023. This work is part of the water main replacement on Haven and Gould Streets.
The Town invested more than $8 Million in downtown utility infrastructure improvements this year, including water main lining of some of our oldest pipe on Main Street in the square, and water main replacements along Ash Street, High Street, and Gould Street. All of these underground improvements are necessary to reduce water main breaks, ensure continuity of services, help prevent flooding, ensure safe and reliable access to transit services, and prepare the area for paving and streetscape improvements. The downtown area includes a state-designated Environmental Justice (EJ) Population. In Reading, our EJ Population resides in a neighborhood in the Downtown. This neighborhood is designated an EJ Population because the residents meet the income criteria (annual median household income is 65 percent or less of the statewide annual median household income).
During the holiday shopping season, the Department of Public Works and Engineering staff have made a concerted effort to keep construction off Haven Street, preserve all parking spaces and lots, and maintain access to our businesses. Apart from the town, National Grid has also been working on Woburn Street to replace gas mains. Once water main replacement work begins on Haven Street, the street will remain open to traffic. Some parking spots will be utilized daily for heavy equipment storage during non-working hours. Working hours will be from 7:30 AM – 5:30 PM Monday through Friday, though often work will end by 3PM along the corridor.
With multiple projects working downtown, detours have been, at times, confusing to motorists. This week our engineers increased monitoring of detour routes, having contractors add more signage, and ensuring that the traffic flow is safe through the area. Safety is our first priority. Additionally, private construction projects going on in the area, emergency responses, vehicle accidents, fires, and other factors can change traffic flow unexpectedly. The town works to manage moment to moment conditions prioritizing safety and efficiency.
For interested businesses and residents, the Town Public Works Road Resurfacing and Construction web page will be updated daily with expectations on the next day working plans. Additional signage, including movable message boards, will be placed downtown to help with wayfinding during construction. Staff will also make updates on social media when there are significant project milestones or changes.
Please see the attached map for a visual representation of the downtown utility improvement area.
We thank our residents and businesses for their patience during this work, and for your courteous treatment of Reading Town staff, police officers, and contractors working in the area. Once completed, the community benefit of the upgraded infrastructure will be immeasurable.