Repairs to a failed culvert on School Street in Manchester will close School Street and Southern Avenue in Essex at the town line starting Tuesday. The stretch may remain closed through Friday.
The street's closed at the site where Manchester Public Works has tried to repair a culvert running under School Street that started to sink around three weeks ago, said Essex Police Chief Peter Silva.
The culvert is located past Atwater Avenue on the Manchester side, near the on and off ramps for Route 128's Exit 16.
The construction close the road down to one lane, with lights and police details directing traffic since. In order to fix the culvert and remaining sinkhole, Manchester Public Works crews will need to close the road down for the better part of next week.
"There will be no through traffic whatsoever," Silva said.
The closure starts Tuesday at 9 a.m. and will wrap up seven days later. Repairs started as a temporary fix, Silva said, and the closure became necessary when the Public Works crew found it would need to do a full repair.
Manchester Public Works Director Steven Kenney could not be reached for comment on this story.
Silva said residents should plan ahead for travel next week, and avoid School Street and Southern Avenue. Police will have signs posted along the roadway.
"One lane of traffic has been maintained until this point, but this will no longer be the case — the road will be shut down altogether," stated Essex Town Administrator Brendhan Zubricki in an advisory announcement. "You are advised to seek alternate routes to and from (Route) 128, which may include Route 133 to Exit 14 or Route 22 to Exit 18. Please note that the situation is subject to change and we will issue updates as necessary."
Closing the road affects school buses and emergency response, said Manchester Fire Chief Andrew Paskalis. His department is prepared, he said, and the Essex Fire Department is taking steps as well. Paskalis said his main concern in that area are hikers in the Agassiz Rock trails just across the culvert. He said the department will work closely with construction crews.
"We'll work closely with the contractors," Paskalis said.
Manchester Essex Schools Superintendent Pamela Beaudoin could not be reached for comment on this story.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.