Return to Home




Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

Date: March 2, 2004

Contact: Ria Convery, (617) 788-1105, <>


Water Main Work in Cambridge Underway

Project Area Residents and Businesses:

If you have questions or concerns about this project, please contact your MWRA Community Coordinator, Jeff McLaughlin.

Tel: (617) 788-1170


The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA)
has started the rehabilitation of its 100-year old water transmission main in Cambridge this winter from the Porter Square area to the Charles River including Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge Common, Harvard Square and JFK Way.  

The water main is a 48-inch diameter cast iron pipe originally installed in the late 1890s.  MWRA has recently awarded its contract to R. Zoppo, Corp. who has been involved in similar work in Brighton on Western Avenue.  Most of the work involves only accessing the pipe at approximately 800 – 1,000 foot intervals to enable the contractor to enter the pipe to clean and cement mortar line the inside.  This method of water main renewal protects water quality and strengthens water flows while having much less neighborhood impact than a full replacement.  The work also requires the replacement of old valves at various locations and the installation of joints seals inside the pipe to prevent leaks. 

Construction has begun on the Larz Anderson Bridge (DCR Property).  Construction has also begun at the intersection of Beech Street and Elm Street (Cambridge-Somerville Line).  An access pit has been constructed at 1963 Massachusetts Avenue (between Beech and Allen Streets).  Work in the Harvard Square area will begin the evening of March 13/14th.  To reduce impacts within the Harvard Square area all work will be conducted during evening hours.  Hours of operation will be from 9:00PM to 6:30AM.  The work week will begin Sunday evening into Monday morning and end Thursday evening into Friday morning. 

R. Zoppo Corp. will be at the locations listed intermittently for approximately 3 to 4 months. Harvard Square restoration work may add 1 to 2 months. Construction access areas will be covered with steel plates and secured during non-work hours.

MWRA understands the sensitivity of these locations but needs to upgrade this portion of the water supply system and remove antiquated valves.  MWRA will contact businesses to address concerns and to update business owners on the progress of the work.  Due to the proximity of work on Massachusetts Avenue in the right, northbound travel lane, parking and one travel lane will be impacted between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.  

Jeff McLaughlin of the MWRA Public Affairs Department will be the contact person for businesses and residents during the work.  He can be reached at (617) 788-1170.  More on the project can be found on-line at

Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience during this important project.


MWRA serves 47 Massachusetts communities.