Essex Street Improvements Underway

The highly anticipated renovations to the Essex Street corridor are underway. Currently, additional drainage features and other underground work are being performed in advance of roadway, sidewalk and major aesthetic improvements. The goal of this project is to not only enhance safety for pedestrians and drivers but also extend the feel of downtown the entire length of Essex Street. These exciting improvements to the corridor are being coordinated in conjunction with the construction of the new assisted living facility being built by LCB Senior Living at the former Deering Lumber site.

In 2014, the City of Melrose received a grant from the Mass Works Infrastructure program to reconstruct and revitalize Essex Street from Main Street to West Emerson Street, including Willow Street from Essex Street to Cherry Street, during the 2015-16 construction season. This project has been designed to improve a street which is home to many users including important local businesses, residents, and an assisted living complex currently being developed. The project includes not only rebuilding sidewalks and repaving the roadway, but also providing streetscape features and gathering areas focused on reenergizing the area by making it safer, more accessible, and more inviting for commuters, businesses, and all users of the roadway. To supplement the $641,000 Mass Works grant, the City will contribute a total of total of nearly $400,000 in roadway bonds and private development funds.

The bulk of the major improvements will begin in May. The project work will begin on Essex Street at West Emerson and work back towards Main Street. The new sidewalks and roadway will be largely completed in June. In order to comply with our MassWorks grant, the grant funding must be expended by June 30th of this year.

Here is a block by block breakdown of what is being done.

Essex Street – Main Street to Myrtle Street

  • Victorian-style lighting on both sides of the street (similar to Franklin Street)
  • Bump-outs at crosswalks in the following locations: Cerretani Way to Century 21; Shaw’s entrance to parking lot across the street; intersection of Myrtle and Essex Streets
  • Street trees on the south side
  • Bike lane on the north side
  • 18-inch accent strip in the sidewalk along curb on both sides
  • Benches and bike racks

Essex Street – Myrtle Street to Willow Street

  • Maintain parking on north side
  • Centerline striping
  • Off-street tree plantings (with permission from property owners)
  • Bicycle shared lane markings (sharrows)

Essex Street – Willow Street to West Emerson Street

  • Centerline and edge line striping
  • Bicycle shared lane markings (sharrows)
  • Off-street tree plantings (with permission from property owners)
  • New crosswalk crossing Essex Street at Vine Street and crossing Essex Street at Willow Street
  • Reconfiguration of bend in front of the Deering site to tighten travel lanes
  • “Cut-in” parking area in front of the parking lot
  • Grass strip in residential areas
  • Benches and bike racks

Willow Street

  • One-way travel from Essex Street to West Foster Street scheduled to begin in mid-April
  • New concrete sidewalks and paving from Essex Street to Cherry Street
  • Bump-outs at Cherry Street and the driveway for Station Crossing with painted crosswalks
  • Addition of 8 parking spaces on the east side of Willow between Cherry Street and West Foster Street
  • Bicycle shared lane markings (sharrows)
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