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

  • Highland Avenue Paving - 1st Mobilization (McGrath Highway to School Street) - Overnight Wed 7/10 - Thu 7/11

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    Weather permitting, beginning Wednesday, July 10 at 8 p.m. the City of Somerville’s contractor, D&R Paving will undertake the first of two mobilizations for paving the two travel lanes (approximately 28-feet wide) of Highland Avenue between McGrath Hwy and Benton Road. This first mobilization will cover the segment of roadway between McGrath Hwy and School Street.

    A second Highland Avenue paving mobilization is expected to take place later this summer, upon completion of Eversource’s Gas Main Upgrade project on Highland Avenue (Central St. to School St.). This second mobilization will cover the segment of roadway between School Street and Benton Road.

    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.

    Mobilization #1 - Anticipated Schedule

    Paving will take place overnight:

    • beginning Wednesday, July 10 at approximately 8 p.m.

    • ending Thursday, July 11 at approximately 7 a.m.

    Schedules are subject to change due to weather or other factors.

    Motor Vehicle Detour

    During paving operations, Highland Avenue will be closed to motor vehicle traffic in both directions.

    • Pedestrian access will be maintained via both sidewalks.

    Other Construction Impacts

    • On-street parking will be restricted during construction. Please observe posted signage
    • Access to driveways on Highland Ave. between School and McGrath will temporarily be restricted during paving.
    • Onsite crews are available and may be able to help you get in and out of your driveway if needed.
    • Access will be maintained for MBTA buses and emergency vehicles at all times.
    • 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 improve our city’s infrastructure.

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

  • Highland Avenue (McGrath Highway to Benton Road) - Interim Partial Paving Preparations Underway

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    Update 7/3: Weather permitting, paving of Highland Avenue (mobilization #1 - McGrath Highway to School Street) will take place overnight on Wednesday (7/10) beginning at approximately 8 p.m., and ending at approximately 7 a.m. on Thursday (7/11)

    More details including a full detour map will be available shortly and posted on this page.


    City contractors will be paving the two travel lanes of the roadway (approximately 28-feet wide) along Highland Avenue between McGrath Highway and Benton Road.

    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.

    Preparations for paving are currently underway. A description of operations and our anticipated scheduled is included below.

    Paving Plan

    Contractors will be paving this segment of Highland Avenue in two mobilizations.

    • Mobilization 1 - Highland Avenue between McGrath Highway and School Street. ‘

    • Mobilization 2 - Highland Avenue between School Street and Benton Road

    Paving Schedule

    Each mobilization will involve two phases of work:

    • Preparing for paving

      • milling (removing the top few layers of asphalt) of the roadway and installing temporary asphalt

      • adjusting castings (raising/lower the coverings/tops of inground utility access points such as manhole covers)

    • Paving

      • Installing a new roadway surface (two travel lanes of the roadway, approximately 28-feet wide)

    Mobilization #1 (McGrath to School) Schedule

    • Preparation for paving - Beginning week of 6/24 and continuing through early July

    • Paving

      • Expected to take place mid-July;

        • additional notification and information will be provided to the neighborhood once date is confirmed

      • Paving is not expected to take more than 1-2 days.

    Mobilization #2 (School to Benton) Schedule

    • Currently expected to take place later this summer, upon completion of Eversource’s Gas Main Upgrade project on Highland Avenue (Central St. to School St.)

      • Additional notification will be provided prior to this mobilization.

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


  • Central Street (Summer St. to Highland Ave.) - One-Way Conversion, Upcoming Construction, and Traffic Analysis

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    Weather permitting, city contractors will execute plans to convert the segment of Central Street between Summer Street and Highland Avenue to become a permanently one-way northbound street for vehicle traffic.

    Initial Phase of Central Street Construction

    During the initial phase construction, Central Street will be closed during work hours (typically weekdays, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.) until the first layer of asphalt is installed. Access will be retained for residents and notification will be provided prior to paving.

    Please observe all posted signage and parking restrictions.

    • Monday-Thursday (6/17-6/20)- Grading of the street and other preparation for paving

    • Friday (6/21) – Paving of preliminary binder course of asphalt

    Week of 6/17 - Central Street Northbound Detour

    While Central Street is closed during work hours, northbound traffic will be detoured west on Summer Street and north on Lowell Street before connecting with Highland Avenue.

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




    Preliminary Traffic Impact Analysis (Central Street and Surrounding Neighborhood)

    During the design phase of the Spring Hill Sewer Separation project, the City made the decision, informed by community process, to convert Central Street between Summer Street and Highland Avenue to a one-way street for northbound motor vehicle traffic. This new design will create safer conditions for all users of the road.

    As this change to Central Street goes into effect (currently anticipated for 6/17), the City’s Mobility Division has prepared a summary of the City’s analysis of the traffic impacts of this change, particularly on Benton Road, and an outline of our process and potential alternatives as we move forward.

    Central Street One-Way Conversion Analysis




  • 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.

    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.

    About the Conversion to One-Way

    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.

    During the initial phase construction, Central Street will be closed during work hours (typically weekdays, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.) until the first layer of asphalt is installed. Access will be retained for residents and notification will be provided prior to paving. Afterwards, the roadway will reopen during normal business hours while construction continues.

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

    Parking will no longer be permitted on the odd-numbered side of the road.

    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.

Page last updated: 11 Jul 2024, 09:16 AM