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

  • Central Street - New Traffic Pattern Begins 6/10 or Soon After

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    Update 5/23: This change is now expected to go into effect the week of June 17th or soon after.


    Beginning on Monday, June 10 or soon after, the segment of Central Street between Summer Street and Highland Avenue will become a permanently one-way northbound street for vehicle traffic.

    City contractors will install required signage associated with this change prior to implementation. Variable message boards will also be placed at key points along Central Street and Highland Avenue to alert people to change in traffic pattern.

    Over the summer and fall, construction crews will be working to

    • construct a new 12-foot-wide travel lane

    • install sidewalk-level cycle tracks in each direction

    • prepare tree pits for new plantings

    • and deliver additional streetscape improvements.

    This work follows the installation of new water, sewer, and drainage utilities along the same stretch of Central Street last fall.

    Emergency services and other City Operations were consulted during the design process and have been notified of the implementation timeline.

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

  • Spring Community Meeting

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    Spring Community Meeting

    Spring Hill Sewer Separation – Construction Community Meeting

    Wednesday, May 15, at 6:00 p.m.

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

    Topics to be covered include:

    • Review of progress made this fall and winter
    • In-depth look ahead at construction plan for this spring and summer
    • Neighborhood feedback and Q&A session with City staff

    Attend the meeting

    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(External link).

    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. Construction Update (5/1) - Eversource Electric Emergency Repairs

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    Eversource Electric contractors are working to repair electrical utilities along Highland Avenue (School St. to McGrath Hwy). These repairs are essential and required to restore regular electrical service to locations on the easternmost end of Highland Avenue.

    Affected residences are currently being provided electrical service via generators while repair work is underway.

    Work is expected to continue through the week. Given the essential nature of the repairs, work may be permitted outside of typical construction hours and on weekends.

    Tentative Schedule (subject to change):

    • Wed-Sat (5/1-5/3) - 7 a.m. - 10 p.m.

    • Sunday (5/5) - no work scheduled

    • Mon-Fri (5/6-5/10) - 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.

    Temporary detours and parking restrictions will be in place. Please observe posted signage.

    This work is not part of the City’s Spring Hill Sewer Separation project or Eversource Gas’ ongoing gas main replacement project currently underway. City’s contractors, working as part of the Spring HIll Sewer Separation have paused work on Highland Avenue to allow repairs to proceed. Eversource Gas contractors are continuing work on Highland Avenue west of Central Street.

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

  • Week of 4/29 - Construction Update

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    Construction Update

    Work hours for both streetscape and utility activities are weekdays 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. All work is weather dependent and schedules are subject to change

    Streetscape Construction Activities

    • Summer Street (School St. to Spring St.)- Crews are expected to complete installation of new sidewalks along Summer Street this week.
      • Some work will continue on Summer Street as crews prepare for spring plantings and continue work on green stormwater infrastructure.
      • Final paving on Summer Street will take place this summer. Residents will be notified via flyer and city alert prior to that work taking place.
    • School Street (Summer St. to Highland Ave.)- Sidewalk reconstruction work on school street is now underway and will continue over the coming weeks.
      • Final paving on School Street will take place this summer. Residents will be notified via flyer and city alert prior to that work taking place.

    Underground Utility Improvements

    • Summer Street (School St. to Bow St.) - Installation of new drainage and sewer utilities is currently underway and expected to continue into the summer months.
    • Highland Avenue (Walnut St. to Thorpe St.)- Installation of new water, drainage and sewer utilities along this stretch of Highland Avenue is currently underway and will continue for the next ~ 3 weeks.
      • Crews are currently working to complete installation of new water mains and will soon turn to installation new water service (connections between individual properties and the new water mains.
    • Highland Ave. (Benton Rd. to School St.)- Eversource Gas installation of new gas utilities is currently underway.

    Construction Impacts

    • Traffic Management - Temporary detours and street closures will be required during work hours.

      • Access will be maintained for residents at all times.

        • If access to your home is temporarily blocked, on-site crews are available to assist by moving signage, equipment, temporary plating trenches, etc.

        • Any temporary restrictions to driveway access will be communicated to individual properties by contractors in advance.

    • Parking Restrictions - On-street parking may be temporarily restricted around work zones during construction.

      • Please observe posted signage.

    Have questions?

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

  • Spring Hill Streetscape Work to Begin, Week of 3/18 or Soon After

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    With warmer weather on the horizon, crews are preparing to begin work on streetscape improvements across the Spring Hill neighborhood.

    Work hours for both streetscape and utility activities are weekdays 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. All work is weather dependent and schedules are subject to change.

    Initial Streetscape Construction Activities Beginning Soon

    • Summer Street (School St. to Spring St.) - Crews will pick-up where they left off last year and begin installing new sidewalks and irrigation on the odd numbered side of the street.

      • Construction of the new westbound bike lane is also expected to begin in the coming weeks.

    • Avon Street - Installation of new green stormwater infrastructure to start week of 3/24

    • School Street (Summer St. to Highland Ave.) - Sidewalk reconstruction work is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

    Underground Utility Improvements

    • Summer Street (School St. to Bow St.) - Installation of new drainage and sewer utilities is currently underway.

    • Highland Ave. (Walnut St. to Thorpe St.) - Installation of new water, drainage and sewer utilities to begin in the coming weeks.

    • Highland Ave. (Benton Rd. to School St.) - Eversource Gas installation of new gas utilities is currently underway.

    Construction Impacts

    • Traffic Management - Temporary detours and street closures will be required during work hours.

      • Access will be maintained for residents at all times.

        • If access to your home is temporarily blocked, on-site crews are available to assist by moving signage, equipment, temporary plating trenches, etc.

        • Any temporary restrictions to driveway access will be communicated to individual properties by contractors in advance.

    • Parking Restrictions - On-street parking may be temporarily restricted around work zones during construction.

      • Please observe posted signage.

    Have questions?

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

  • Highland Ave. Detour Update - Eversource Gas (2/28)

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    Update 3/12 - Starting Monday 3/18 - Work hours are weekdays between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.


    Starting on Wednesday, February 28 or soon after, eastbound traffic on Highland Avenue between Central Street and Hamlet Street will be detoured during work hours for approximately 1.5-2 months (weather permitting).

    Work Hours:

    • Wednesday 2/28 - 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Thursday 2/29 and after - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    Previously this work required westbound traffic to be detoured. This updated eastbound detour will enable Eversource Gas to install new gas utilities along Highland Avenue between School Street and Benton road, while Spring Hill Sewer Separation-related work continues on School Street.

    All businesses will remain open and accessible during construction.

    Eastbound Traffic Detour

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

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

    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.

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

  • 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.

Page last updated: 23 May 2024, 03:50 PM