Project To Ease Traffic Congestion Is Finished In Springfield's South End
A major roadway improvement project that involved multiple eminent domain property takings has been completed in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Officials Monday celebrated the completion of Marble Street Extension – a $1.1 million project to open up a dead end street in order to ease traffic congestion on Main Street, make it easier to access the new South End Community Center, and improve public safety.
Mayor Domenic Sarno said it is the latest enhancement to the South End neighborhood that includes the $10 million community center, which opened in 2017, new residential and business developments, and publicly-funded improvements at two parks.
"You've really seen a true transformation for the positive in the South End here," said Sarno.
Leo Florian, president of the South End Citizens Council, said the project has made the neighborhood safer.
The dark dead end of the street was described by Florian as "a problem area with a lot of bad things happening." Now, he said police have easy access to monitor the area. Florian called the project " a homerun."
Extending Marble Street to allow traffic to flow between two major thoroughfares, Main Street and Central Street, was first suggested by city planners more than a decade ago.
"Creating this road really opens up the neighborhood," said Springfield DPW Director Chris Cignoli.
To accomplish the project, more than a dozen properties had to be taken by eminent domain including a public housing complex.
"Working with HUD ( U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) that process probably took us 2-3 years to get the buildings torn down," said Cignoli.
Construction on the street extension project began in September 2018 and finished this past August.
"The neighborhood really loves it and we've seen a little reduction in traffic on Main Street, which is great," said Cignoli.
The Marble Street project is one of three major roadway improvements paid for with disaster recovery funds Springfield received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development after the June 2011 tornado. It is the first to be completed.
A second project, the Six Corners Roundabout, is scheduled for completion early next year. Work started just a few weeks ago on the third and final project – the reconstruction of Central Street.