Spring Street construction continues

The construction project to rebuild Spring Street, now in its sixth month, is currently proceeding on schedule and so far has had only a minimal impact on the community, college and town officials said. Despite concerns that the project would spur a loss in sales, Spring Street merchants say they have been “pleasantly surprised” with its management so far.

This “infrastructure replacement project” was implemented to replace the deteriorating water mains, sewer lines, and draining systems beneath the road’s surface, Tom Kaiser, director of the Williamstown Public Works department, said. Billerica Roads, the contractor performing the roadwork, has already completed the water and sewer lines and is currently installing the new storm drain. This portion of the reconstruction will be finished before work stops for the winter in early December.

In the spring, Eric Beattie, assistant director for construction services at Williams Buildings and Grounds and the College’s liaison to the project, said that workers will install the telephone and gas mains, then rebuild the layers of the road and repave its surface. The final phase of the project will be one of “beautification,” including the laying of new curbing and sidewalks, the installation of period street lighting, landscaping, signage, and other measures to make the street “more village-like,” in the words of Helen Ouellette, vice president for administration at Williams.

According to Kaiser, the reconstruction of Spring Street has been in the planning stages for over 10 years, since the town put the project in its capital plan of 1988. The water main and sewer main were “undersized and antiquated,” Kaiser said. “This project needed to be done.”

Because the project was going to go forward anyway, the town decided that it presented a perfect opportunity to do some more superficial aesthetic work as well. “It was a project that had to happen because of the part you couldn’t see, but I think there will be fair amount of positive improvements you can see,” Ouellette said, speaking of the plans for new sidewalks and lighting.

Until two years ago, however, the town was having difficulty locating ad-