SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – By next year at this time, the $6.7-million tunnel will permit safe access under the railroad tracks linking Birnie Avenue in Brightwood to Plainfield Street in the North End.

Mayor Domenic Sarno led the contingent of city councilors, state legislator and community leaders hailing this progress.

“This is about living and safe passage through the North End neighborhood and all the neighborhoods, the heart and soul of the families, and I’m glad it’s come to fruition,” said Sarno.

When it’s completed, it’ll be a 52-foot long concrete underpass providing safe passage between the two neighborhoods, linked to a quarter of a mile sidewalk pathway between Birnie Avenue and Plainfield Street.

Jose Claudio, CEO of the New North Citizen Council told 22News, “24 hours a day without the safety hazard, a beautiful underpass, you can see from one side to the other and we made it happen, nothing could be better.”

Leaders of the North End Brightwood communities, people who’ve lived here for many years, describe the pedestrian underpass as a vital improvement in their quality of life. The only thing more impressive than the start to the project will be its completion next year.