Gerena tunnel project to move forward

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – An improvement project of the Gerena tunnel has been given the green light by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

According to a news release sent to 22News, Sarno has directed Chief Administrative and Financial Officer (CAFO) TJ Plante, Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management (PBRM) Executive Director Patrick Sullivan and Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Chris Cignoli to move forward on the city portion of the Gerena tunnel project.

“Let’s move the project forward, let’s work with MassDOT to expedite their side of the deal and if there is any other way besides what we’re doing with MassDOT, then I’ll look to that too,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

In January of 2020, MassDOT informed the city that it had been approved for construction funding repairs to the Gerena School tunnel that is under Birnie Avenue that allows access from Main Street to the Gerena School.  The approved project also includes improvements to Birnie Avenue in the area of the school that will better control and slow traffic in the area of the school.

The planned repairs to the tunnel by MassDOT and DPW will include adding new drainage systems on either side of the tunnel in Birnie Avenue to intercept groundwater as well as installing a new watertight membrane system around the tunnel to ensure that groundwater does not penetrate into the useable spaces in the building.   Necessary structural repairs will also be made to the tunnel roof system as part of the waterproofing work.

The Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is anticipated to be posted immediately on the City’s Office of Procurement website at:

The total project costs for the roadway and membrane system is approximately $2 million with MassDOT paying for 70-75% of the project, with the remainder covered by the City.

The project design is currently undergoing a pre-25% design review with MassDOT.  In the spring of 2022, MassDOT will be providing a target construction date through the regional Transportation Improvement Plan which prioritizes all of the regional roadway, highway, and bridge construction projects.

In total, the Gerena tunnel project will cost $4 million, $1.6 will be utilized by the City to repair and renovate the Main Street tunnel entrance roof and community rooms, $400,000 will support DPW efforts to improve drainage and roadway improvements. MassDOT will cover 70-75% of the $2 million costs for improvements and repairs for the roadway and membrane system with the city covering the remainder of the project.    

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