SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Gerena Tunnel project in Springfield moves forward this week with traffic studies to create a safer roadway for vehicles and pedestrians.
According to the news release sent to 22News from Springfield Public Schools spokesperson Azell Cavaan, field surveys have been completed and traffic studies of the tunnel system at Gerena School are expected to begin this week, jumpstarting the Gerena Tunnel project once again following pandemic-related delays.
Alfred Benesch & Co. from Glastonbury, CT outlined issues of leaks in the tunnel system that have caused flooding problems over the years and limited community use of the rooms at Gerena School along the tunnel.
The MassDOT agreed to pay $1.2 million of the estimated $2.18 million cost of the projects that will create a new safe and fully accessible crossing for pedestrians. It will provide passage and help connect the two sections of the North End and Brightwood neighborhoods (Birnie Avenue and Plainfield Street) that are separated by the railroad tracks.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated: “I am proud of our city team and community partners for their continued unyielding efforts working on moving the Gerena School and Birnie Ave project forward. Since this project was initiated, my administration has made this a priority. I want to thank School Committeewoman Maria Perez who has been a strong advocate of this project and the city’s neighborhood point person. This project has been a long time coming and has involved numerous agencies and entities. We will continue to work with all invested partners and stakeholders in seeing this project to completion.”
Superintendent of Schools Daniel Warwick said the tunnel at Gerena has been a complicated situation to navigate, “There were so many layers of issues that added to the difficulty of moving this project and I am thankful that our Springfield team were persistent about ensuring that Gerena is the best facility it can be for our students of course, but also for the community,” said Warwick, adding that the Gerena School facility is one of the most invested-in school buildings.
Patrick Sullivan, director of Parks, Buildings and Recreational Management said, “we’re very invested in making sure the building quality is excellent and getting these tunnel repairs underway, finally, will be a great step forward for us. The Mayor, Superintendent, School Committeewoman Perez and DPW Director Cignoli are to be commended for the progress underway this week and moving forward.”