Spring Hill Sewer Separation Project

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Largely developed during the 19th century, Spring Hill is served by a combined sewer system that collects both wastewater and stormwater runoff in the same pipes. The City is currently working to upgrade these systems by installing new storm drains that separate stormwater from the existing combined sewer. This measure is one in a series of actions the City is undertaking to reduce water pollution, mitigate flooding, and ultimately modernize our infrastructure.

In addition to the installation of a modern, separate sewer system, the project includes:

Largely developed during the 19th century, Spring Hill is served by a combined sewer system that collects both wastewater and stormwater runoff in the same pipes. The City is currently working to upgrade these systems by installing new storm drains that separate stormwater from the existing combined sewer. This measure is one in a series of actions the City is undertaking to reduce water pollution, mitigate flooding, and ultimately modernize our infrastructure.

In addition to the installation of a modern, separate sewer system, the project includes:

The Spring Hill Sewer Separation project has been divided into two areas: Project Area 1 and Project Area 2, as illustrated on the limits of map on the right-hand side of this page (click image to enlarge). Construction has begun in Project Area 1 while Project Area 2 will advance to construction in 2023 at the earliest.

Select from the list below to view planned improvements and the anticipated schedule for each street within Project Area

  • Sewer Restoration (CIPP Lining) - Week of 2/26

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    During the week of February 26th or soon after, the City’s contractor, Insituform, will rehabilitate aging sewers in your neighborhood. Crews will use a method called cured-in-place-pipe lining (CIPP lining) to provide more structurally sound pipes without excavation.

    Work is currently scheduled to take place on the following streets (weather permitting):

    • Prescott St.
    • Berkeley St.
    • School St.
    • Avon St.

    If work is planned for your street, affected addresses will receive additional notification via flyer and city alert ~24 hours prior. Planned work hours will be included as part of that notification.

    Service Alert for Affected Addresses (Day of Work Only): While this work is underway, please limit the use of water going down your drains to an absolute minimum, and do not use washing machines or dishwashers. You may continue to use your toilet as usual.

    Odor Associated with CIPP-lining Process

    A plastic- or glue-like odor may be detectable while the liner cures. This odor will dissipate quickly once the process is complete.

    Other Impacts:

    On-street parking restrictions expected on both sides of the work zone. Isolated street closures may be in effect. Onsite crews will provide detour signage and help abutters get in and out of their driveway as needed.

    If you have questions, please email construction@somervillema.gov or call the Engineering Division at 617-625-6600 ext. 5400.

  • Eversource Gas - Highland Ave. Westbound Detour, Begins 2/5 or Soon After

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    Starting on Monday, February 5 or soon after, westbound traffic on Highland Avenue. between School Street and Central Street will be detoured during work hours (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays) for approximately 2 months (weather permitting).

    This detour will enable Eversource Gas to install new gas utilities along Highland Avenue.

    All businesses will remain open and accessible during construction.

    Westbound Traffic Detour

    Westbound traffic on Highland Avenue will be detoured south on School Street, west on Summer Street and north on Central Street before reconnecting with Highland Avenue.

    Eastbound travel will be maintained as usual.

    Pedestrian and Transit Impacts

    Some sidewalk access may be restricted at times. Temporary pedestrian detours will be installed as needed.

    MBTA buses and emergency vehicles will be allowed to proceed in both directions.

    Highland Avenue Travel Lane Paving (Early Summer ‘24)

    Following completion of utility work, City contractors will be paving the two travel lanes of the roadway (approximately 28-feet wide). Paving is on schedule to occur in early summer of 2024. This interim paving is expected to extend along Highland Avenue from roughly McGrath Highway to Central Street.

    If you have questions, please email construction@somervillema.gov or call the Engineering Division at 617-625-6600 ext. 5400.

  • January 2024 Update – Upcoming Utility Work and Interim Partial Paving

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    To help community members stay informed on planned work for Highland Avenue, the City of Somerville is sharing an update regarding the current timeline for the utility work and interim paving that will precede the full redesign and reconstruction.

    Utility Upgrades on Eastern Highland Ave. (Winter/Spring 2024)

    Ongoing utility work as part of the Spring Hill Sewer Separation project is underway. In addition to that work, the City and Eversource Gas have coordinated to prioritize Eversource’s Gas Main Upgrades project. Gas main upgrades are currently expected to start in early February 2024.

    Recently completed and upcoming utility improvements along eastern Highland Avenue include:

    • Spring Hill Sewer Separation (Sewer, Drainage, and Water Main Upgrades)
      • Central St. - Walnut St. - completed fall 2023
      • Walnut St. - Thorpe St. - spring 2024
    • Eversource Gas Main Replacement
      • Benton Rd. - School St. - winter/spring 2024

    Interim Paving Work Plan

    The next step following completion of utility work will be paving of the two travel lanes of the roadway (approximately 28-feet wide). This partial paving, which does not include the parking areas next to the curbs, is intended to restore the road surface travel areas. This is an interim measure to support safe travel for all users of the road until the full redesign and reconstruction of Highland Avenue. Paving is on schedule to occur in early summer of 2024. This interim paving is expected to extend from roughly McGrath Highway to Central Street.

    Future Project: Full Redesign and Reconstruction of Highland Avenue

    The City’s Five-Year Capital Investment Plan includes a larger-scale redesign and reconstruction of Highland Avenue. This is a separate project and is not included as part of the Spring Hill Sewer Separation.

    This larger-scale redesign and reconstruction effort is currently planned to begin as early as July 2025, but the City is exploring options for moving this timeline forward. For more details visit somervillema.gov/highlandave.

    To ensure consistency with the City’s Vision Zero Action Plan and Citywide Bicycle Network Plan, this larger project will include:

    • Reconstructed sidewalks.

    • Traffic calming and crosswalk safety enhancements.

    • Two directions of separated bicycle lanes.

    • Bus priority infrastructure.

    • Green stormwater infrastructure elements.

    The project development process will include a thorough evaluation of resident, business, and visitor parking and loading needs with a commitment to serve these needs in the context of the future street design.

    To stay informed about this project please visit somervillema.gov/highlandave.

  • Winter Work Ongoing - Lower Summer Street

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    Winter ‘24

    With much of the underground utility work complete across the project area, City contractors will be operating in a reduced capacity this winter season, focusing their efforts on Summer St. between School St. and Prescott St.

    Meanwhile, Eversource Gas contractors will be working to install a new gas main along Highland Ave. between Benton Rd. and School St.

    All work is weather permitting.

  • School St. and Summer St. Intersection Paving - Week of 11/6

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    School St. Paving

    Weather permitting, City contractors will perform roadway grading and paving on School Street (between Summer St. and Highland Ave.) during the week of November 6th.

    This work will provide a restored surface for the winter season and facilitate the installation of new streetscape improvements (including new sidewalks and green infrastructure) beginning in spring 2024.

    Anticipated Schedule (subject to change):

    • Monday-Wednesday (11/6-11/8)- Grading of the street and other preparation for paving

    • Thursday (11/9) – Paving of preliminary binder course of asphalt

    • Work hours are weekdays between approximately 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

    Construction Impacts:

    • On-street parking will be restricted during construction.

      • Please observe posted signage.

    • Continued road closure during grading and paving.

    • Access to your driveway may be temporarily restricted during paving.

    • Trash/recycling pick-ups and deliveries will not be affected.

    Summer St. Intersection Paving

    An additional day of paving on Friday, November 10 is required to finish paving originally scheduled to be completed during the week of 10/30. More information on that work is available here.

    We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience as we work to upgrade utilities and install streetscape improvements throughout the Spring Hill neighborhood.

    Please email construction@somervillema.gov or call the Engineering Division at (617) 625-6600 ext. 5400 with questions.

  • Fall Community Meeting - November, 13 at 6 p.m.

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    Please join us for a virtual community meeting on the Spring Hill Sewer Separation Project.

    Topics to be covered include:

    • Review of progress made this summer and fall
    • In-depth look ahead to upcoming winter work and the 2024 construction season
    • Neighborhood feedback and Q&A session with City staff

    Register Here



    Persons with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication (i.e., CART, ASL), written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures to access the programs, activities, and meetings of the City of Somerville should please contact Adrienne Pomeroy in advance at 617-625-6600 x 2059 or apomeroy@somervillema.gov.

    Interpretation into any language is available upon advance request (at least seven days in advance) by contacting the SomerViva Office of Immigrant Affairs at somervillema.gov/ContactSomerViva or calling 311 at 617-666-3311.

  • Highland Ave. Eastbound Detour, Restarts 11/1 or Soon After

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    Beginning Nov 1 or soon after, Highland Ave. will be closed to eastbound traffic between School St. and Hamlet St. during work hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays). The westbound travel lane will be maintained as usual. Schedules are subject to change.

    All businesses will remain open and accessible during construction.

    Estimated detour duration is approximately 2-3 weeks.

    Eastbound Traffic Detour Route

    Eastbound traffic on Highland Ave. will be detoured north on Central St. and east on Medford St. before reconnecting with Highland Ave.


    Northbound traffic along Walnut St. will be allowed to proceed while the detour is in place.

    Pedestrian and Transit Impacts

    Sidewalk access for pedestrians may be restricted at times to facilitate construction of new utilities within the sidewalks. Temporary sidewalks will be installed to maintain safe crossings so as not to impede pedestrian travel, and allow access to businesses and residences along the affected stretch.

    MBTA buses 88 and 90 will be allowed to proceed along Highland in both directions during the detour.

    More Information

    The reinstallation of the detour will facilitate final water/sewer service installation (connections between newly installed utilities and the individual properties). While it was originally anticipated that this work could be completed while maintaining two-way traffic, it has been determined that the detour is required to safely and efficiently move forward with this phase of work.

    If you have questions, please email construction@somervillema.gov or call the Engineering Division at 617-625-6600 ext. 5400.

  • Summer St. Intersection Paving, Week of 10/30

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    Weather permitting, City contractors will be paving intersections along Summer St. between Spring St. and Preston Rd. during the week of October 30 as part of the Spring Hill Sewer Separation Project.

    Summer St. intersections being paved include Spring St., Benton Rd./Harvard St., Carter Terr., Laurel St., Greene St., and Preston Rd.

    Intersections will be paved one after the other (and not simultaneously) to enable detours that allow access to the neighborhood during work. Please observe posted signage and proceed with caution.

    Work schedule (subject to change):

    • This paving work is currently scheduled for October 30 – November 2.

    • Work hours are weekdays between approximately 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

    Construction impacts:

    • On-street parking will be restricted during construction. Please observe posted signage.

    • Periodic road closure during paving.

      • Access will be maintained for residents.

    • Access to your driveway may be temporarily restricted.

      • Onsite crews are available to help you get in and out of your driveway if needed.

    • Trash/recycling pick-ups and deliveries will not be affected.

    We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience as we work to upgrade utilities and install streetscape improvements throughout the Spring Hill neighborhood.

    If you have questions, please email construction@somervillema.gov or call the Engineering Division at (617) 625-6600 ext. 5400.

  • Highland Ave. Eastbound Detour Returns 9/26, Duration ~ 3 weeks

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    Starting on Tuesday, September 26 or soon after, eastbound traffic on Highland Ave. between School St. and Hamlet St. will be detoured during work hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays) for approximately 3 weeks (weather permitting).

    This detour will enable City contractors to complete the installation of new underground utilities along School St. (Summer St. to Highland Ave) by allowing crews to work safely in the intersection of Highland Ave. and School St.

    All businesses will remain open and accessible during construction.

    Eastbound Traffic Detour

    Eastbound traffic on Highland Ave. will be detoured north on Central St. and east on Medford St. before reconnecting with Highland Ave.

    Westbound travel will be maintained as usual. Northbound traffic along Walnut St. will be allowed to proceed while the detour is in place.

    Pedestrian and Transit Impacts

    Some sidewalk access may be restricted at times. However, temporary sidewalks will be installed to maintain accessibility.

    MBTA buses and emergency vehicles will be allowed to proceed in both directions.

    If you have questions, please email construction@somervillema.gov or call the Engineering Division at 617-625-6600 ext. 5400.

  • Highland Ave. Detour Update - 8/24

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    Completion of Highland Ave. Mainline Utility Installation - Final Days of Detour

    Weather permitting, crews are expected to complete installation of new water and sewer mainline utilities along Highland Ave. (Walnut St. to School St.) early next week.

    The final phases of this work will take place in the intersection of Highland and School St. and require the current eastbound detour to remain in place Monday/Tuesday (8/28-29).

    Water Service Installations - Highland Ave. (Putnam St. to School St.)

    Following completion of the mainline utility installation, crews will begin installing water services (connections between individuals properties and the new utilities). This work can be completed with smaller, more concentrated work zones and will not require the full eastbound detour to be in place. Instead lane shifts will enable traffic to proceed around the work zone in both directions.

    After all water services have been installed, crews will repave the trenches (portions of the roadway where excavation took place) and the installation of new utilities on Highland Ave. will be complete. We currently anticipate this will take place sometime during the week of 9/4 or 9/11.

    Have questions?

    Please email construction@somervillema.gov or call the Engineering Division at 617-625-6600 ext. 5400.

Page last updated: 24 Feb 2024, 02:43 PM