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MWRA Water Main Project Notice
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority


November 2004

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) is starting 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.

Project Map

The water main is 48-inch diameter cast iron originally installed in the late 1890s. MWRA has recently issued a Notice to Proceed to its construction contractor 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 pipe 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.

At present the construction schedule calls for work to begin on the Larz Anderson Bridge (a Massachusetts DCR bridge) on or after December 6, 2004. A second crew will begin constructing an access pit at the intersection of Beech Street and Elm Street (Cambridge-Somerville Line) on or after December 2, 2004. Finally, one access pit will need to be constructed at 1963 Massachusetts Avenue (between Beech and Allen Streets) on or after January 3, 2004. After several meetings with Cambridge official, the MWRA has decided to begin construction work in the Harvard and Porter Square areas after the holiday season. The decision was made to eliminate impacts during the busy shopping season.

R. Zoppo Corp. will be at these locations intermittently for approximately 3 to 4 months. The access points will be covered with steel plates and secured during non-work hours (3:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.)

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.

Jeffrey 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.

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

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Updated April 7, 2011