Paving a kick in the asphalt for Swampscott businesses

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Lindsay Egan of Ocean House Surf in Swampscott stands at Humphrey Street, where a paving project begins next week.

BY GAYLA CAWLEY

SWAMPSCOTT — Parking and traffic will be worse on Humphrey Street next week when a $440,000 paving project begins, and some business owners are worried.

“It’s going to be a mess,” said Robin Kritikou, owner of London Hair Design.

The road will be paved from the Lynn line to the Fish House. It is scheduled to begin on Monday.

The milling will be done by Aggregate Industries, a construction firm with offices in Saugus and Peabody.  Aggregate is a subcontractor of BitCon Corp., a Danvers-based company that provides paving services and was the lowest bidder.

Karen Lin, 42, owner of Yan’s China Bistro, said the project will be inconvenient for customers who want to dine in. But the restaurant can deliver food to people unable to make the trip.

“I wish they would have alternatives for parking spaces for the business,” Lin said. “It’s going to be hurting business.”

Milling will take about three days and the street will be down to one lane. Gino Cresta, Department of Public Works director, said street parking will be banned during those three days from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Street parking will also be restricted for the same times during the last three days of the project, when paving takes place. That is tentatively scheduled for the last four days of June, Cresta said.

Parking will be allowed during the two weeks in between milling and paving, when BitCon is raising the manholes. During that time, six sidewalk curb extensions that are designed to slow traffic will be installed. Crosswalks will be re-striped.

During the project, traffic will be delayed and motorists are encouraged to seek alternate routes, but the road will not be closed. The road will be down to one lane during grinding and paving, but the goal is to maintain two-way traffic.

Cresta said work started in mid May with the installation of 47 handicap ramps. Streetlight replacement with historic decorative lights will take place after all work is completed.

“The only thing that would delay it somewhat is if we get heavy rains,” Cresta said.

But not everyone thinks the project is the worst thing to happen on the street.

Amber O’Shea, 38, owner of Ocean House Surf, said there’s already a lack of parking for her customers.

“It’ll probably be a little crazy, but I love that they’re widening the sidewalks,” O’Shea said. “I just think that we really need some kind of parking lot somewhere.”

Lindsay Egan, 24, an employee and director of the store’s surf camp, also wants more parking.

“It (the project) can affect the business, but it’s for a good cause and it’s going to be rewarding in the future,” Egan said. “A few days of it won’t be too bad.”


Gayla Cawley can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.

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