Westfield Newsroom

Traffic changes for Westfield residents

WESTFIELD – City residents will have to adapt to a new traffic pattern next week when the Great River Bridge is opened, after nearly two-years of reconstruction.
City officials said the new two-bridge traffic pattern across the Westfield River, a pattern that will require motorists to use turnabouts at either end of the construction area, will be functioning by Nov. 30.
The original Great River Bridge will carry southbound traffic, while the new Great River Sister Bridge will carry northbound traffic.
The issue is that southbound motorists wishing to turn onto Union Street will have to use the lower section of Pochassic Street (by the Butcher Block) which will be a one-way eastbound street.
Southbound commercial trucks attempting to access Union Street will have to cross the Great River Bridge to use the turnabout in front of Holy Trinity Church (by the new clock tower,) to turn from the south lane onto the north lane, then cross the new bridge and turn onto Union Street.
Motorists exiting Union Street will be able to make only right turns. Those wishing to turn south will have to use the turnabout in front of the Westwood complex to enter the southbound lane.
Meadow Street will also become a right-turn only exit, requiring motorists seeking to go downtown to cross the new bridge, turn at the turnabout in front of Westwood, and proceed south across the original bridge.
City Engineer Mark Cressotti said motorists will still have to deal with construction-related delays, as traffic islands are installed at the intersections along that corridor. Construction crews will also be painting lanes lines, as well as directional turn lines, and installing new directional signs.
“Both bridges will be open, but traffic may be reduced to one lane in each direction will the work continues,” Cressotti said. “The contractor is hoping to get that work done in December, weather permitting.”
The project will not be completed until next spring when the sidewalks on the original Great River bridge are reconstructed. The new sidewalks will be wider and have observation areas similar to those on the new bridge.
Next spring the traffic pattern will change again in regards to the lower section of Pochassic Street, which will switch to a one-way westbound pattern, to allow vehicles to go up the street to access the Prospect Hill section of town or to make a left turn into the southbound lane and cross the bridge to access the downtown.
A new turnabout, located between the railroad viaduct and the new park, will be opened, to allow all southbound traffic to access Union Street.
The construction on the Main Street/Broad Street project will be substantially completed this construction season.
Next spring, the final paving of Main Street, from White Street to the Park Square Green, and paving around the green, will be completed. Work on the green will continue through the winter as granite is installed by Lynch Construction Inc.  The Lynch crews will also construct the concrete footings for the new pavilion, to be constructed by the students and staff of Westfield Vocational Technical High School this winter and spring.
Cressotti said that the entire Main Street/Broad Street project, including the Park Square Green and pavilion, are projected to be completed by June of 2012.
“Both of these projects should be completed just in time for the start of the Pochassic Street bridge reconstruction work and the Elm Street project,” Cressotti said.
The Elm Street project, to be done in two phases, will include installation of new water lines and sidewalks during the first phases, and regrading and repaving of Elm Street between the two state projects, from Church Street where the Main Street/Broad Street project ends, and to Holy Trinity where the bridge projects ends.
The Pochassic Street Bridge, also called the Drug Store Hill Bridge, is currently being advertised by the state Department of Transportation. A DOT spokesman said the bids are slated to be opened on Dec. 6 and the contract expected to be awarded this winter.

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