Local Government and Politics, News

Neighbors in Peabody aren’t happy about plans to replace a bridge on Route 128

PEABODY — As the state prepares to replace a bridge over Route 128 in Danvers, residents of a nearby Peabody neighborhood want to make sure the project has a minimal impact on their quality of life.

Calling themselves the Concerned Citizens of Peabody, the group is holding a public meeting at City Hall next week to inform the community about the Waters River Bridge replacement project. The neighborhood, tucked between the highway and Andover Street, includes Loris, Northfield, and Reynolds roads and Tammie Lane.

“They are trying not to create traffic with the project, but for us, noise will be an issue,” said Northfield Road resident Susan Feinstein. To mitigate traffic issues along Route 128, Feinstein said the work will take place at night, creating a greater potential for noise in the neighborhood.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation project has a price tag of approximately $21 million and is currently out to bid. In addition to the replacement of the Waters River Bridge, the project includes the widening of Route 128 North and South between exits 24 and 25B with the addition of auxiliary lanes for acceleration and deceleration. Construction is slated to begin next year and should last three construction seasons, from 2018 to 2020.

One step Feinstein said she would like to see MassDOT take is the construction of sound barriers to block out noise while the work is underway.

But there are strict guidelines for the construction of sound barriers, and Patrick Marvin, a spokesperson for MassDOT, said the project doesn’t meet the criteria for noise abatement.

“However, crews and contractors will be closely monitoring and measuring noise levels before and during the project to ensure that any noise resulting from our operations does not exceed allowable levels,” said Marvin.

Other issues of concern include the potential for flooding in the neighborhood, the displacement of wildlife in the Waters River area, and expansion of the highway closer to homes in the area, Feinstein said.

State representatives Ted Speliotis and Tom Walsh, Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr., and project managers for the project from MassDOT have been invited to take part in the community meeting, scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

“The residents are concerned with the expansion of the acceleration and deceleration lanes, which will move the blacktop closer to their properties,” said Speliotis. “I understand their concerns and hope the meeting will be productive.”

Feinstein said the meeting is open to all community members.

“Our mission is to make the community aware of this project and the necessary steps to mitigate the impact of this project to residential safety, quality of life, and property values,” she said. “A united Peabody is a strong Peabody, what happens in one neighborhood impacts us all.”

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