The $2 million earmarked for Gloucester sidewalk replacement and improvements isn’t the only infrastructure money that could be headed Cape Ann’s way under a nearly $1.4 billion transportation bond bill that is stuffed with proposed infrastructure projects across the state.
The measure also includes a total of $2.6 million set aside to promote the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, a designated system of roads that stretches from Lynn to Newburyport, including through parts of Manchester, Gloucester, Essex and into Rockport.
The money, aimed at a 64-mile stretch that covers five roads, including Routes 127 and 133 on Cape Ann, could be used for small road improvements, but would also be geared toward erecting signs.
The designation is essentially a way to market the region, promote tourism and make it eligible for specific federal grants that could be steered toward those roads and the byway’s other components, parts of Route 114 and Route 1A.
“It’s something that has been worked on by all of the North Shore delegation; it’s a regional priority,” said state Rep. John Keenan, D-Salem, referring to the delegation that includes state Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, D-Gloucester, and state Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester.
The transportation bond bill also looms as the source of $2 million earmarked by Tarr for the rehabilitation or replacement of sidewalks in Gloucester along Essex Avenue and parts of Route 127, with an eye also toward improving sidewalks around the city’s elementary schools.
Gloucester Public Works Director Mike Hale said last week he’s hopeful that the city will receive what he says are sorely-needed road repair dollars, adding that the DPW is waiting for the state to approve funding before pinpointing exactly which sections of sidewalk will be repaired.
Hale said the department has decided to focus on the areas around elementary schools such as West Parish, with an eye toward better protecting the children who are already walking in the area and allowing more children the chance to safely walk to and from school.
With the legislative deadline looming at midnight Tuesday, a number of other Essex County and North Shore are also contingent on the passage of the transportation bond measure. Other projects earmarked for funding under the bill include:
$500,000 to fund the design of the Brimbal overpass in Beverly.
$7 million to reconstruct Canal Street in Salem.
$3.5 million to rebuild Humphrey and Salem streets in Swampscott.
$400,000 for new sidewalks on Route 114 in Middleton
$750,000 for better roads to access parks and forests in Ipswich.
Some of the proposals made it into the House version of the bill, some made it into the Senate. A conference committee composed of three members of each chamber is meeting to reconcile the differences.
Staff writer Jesse Roman contributed to this story. He can be reached at email@example.com.