Cedar Street Water & Sewer Project


As an older city, Somerville's underground infrastructure is aging and in need of replacement; in the area of Cedar St., water mains are approximately 100 years old, or older. The combination of aging infrastructure, the need to minimize the frequency of flooding and continuation of the City's efforts to reduce its reliance on combined sewers, makes this a valuable project for the City.

In June and July 2016, the City of Somerville and its contractor, P. Giosioso & Sons Inc., began these needed improvements to the sewer, drainage, and water systems on Cedar St. (Highland Ave. to Elm St.) and Elm St. (Cedar St. to Somerville Ave.).

  • Updates & Alerts

  • Project Overview

  • Plan Presentations

Updated 6/16/2017

Important Updates

Last week, a minor accident occurred when a contractor fell into an open trench on the construction site. Although the situation was serious, the nature of the injuries was not serious. Following proper protocol, Gioioso has stopped regular operations on site until review and repairs are complete, which we anticipate will be early next week. Until that time. Cedar Street will remain open to through traffic. Please note that at no time was there any danger to the general public nor to abutters on Cedar Street.

Last Week's Accomplishments

Over the last two weeks, Gioioso began blasting operations near the intersection with Summer Street. The work has been successful thus far, and work will continue early next week. We anticipate that blasting will continue through approximately August.

Upcoming Construction Schedule

Once regular construction operations resume next week, blasting and jackhammering will continue, and Cedar Street will be closed to traffic between Summer Street and Sartwell Ave. During those times, abutters may access homes via Sartwell Ave. Unless otherwise noted, Cedar Street will be open to traffic during weekends. Also next week, paving crews will begin final repairs to sidewalks along Elm Street, though no closures are anticipated at this time. We will continue to update you as construction progresses, however should you have any questions, please contact 311 (617-666-3311), or the Engineering Department. Thank you! 

Updated 6/2/2017

Beginning on Monday, June 5, and lasting for approximately 2 months, construction will take place Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to approximately 3:30 p.m., and will include jackhammering and blasting. Blasting is anticipated to take place once per day, and residents will be warned in advance with the use of air horns.

Beginning on Monday, Cedar Street between Summer Street and Sartwell Ave. will be closed to through traffic. Abutters will be able to access homes via Sartwell Ave., which will be temporarily converted to accommodate 2-way traffic. This portion of the street will remain closed at all times during week days and weeknights, and will reopen each weekend. Through traffic will be detoured onto Cherry Street or Linden Ave.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call 311, or the City’s Engineering Department at 617-625-6600 ext. 5400.

Updated 5/25/2017

Please see below for important construction-related information for the Cedar St. project, which is scheduled to begin with major work during the week of June 5.

As discussed at the public meeting held at the Kennedy School on March 21, the upcoming portion of this work will use a blend of construction methods, including “ramming” and “blasting.” While ramming was utilized last year and generally includes excavation using jackhammering and similar tools, blasting is a new procedure being added this year. In advance of the work, we want to provide you with information on what you can expect during this work.

Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and approximately 3:30 p.m., lasting for approximately two months, contractors will be on site on Cedar St., between Summer St. and Elm St., to conduct blasting. We estimate that blasting will take place once per day. The blasting itself is very brief, however, the entire process includes the following over the course of the work day:

  1. Contractors will drill small holes in the rock layer.
  2. Holes will be loaded with blast materials
  3. Holes will be covered with soil and rubber mats.
  4. Contractors will set up monitoring equipment.
  5. While blasting occurs, pedestrian traffic will be detoured away from the work zone. During the rest of the day, pedestrian traffic will be allowed.
  6. Five minutes prior to blasting, three horns will be blared, notifying anyone in the immediate area to prepare for the blasting.
  7. One minute prior to blasting, two short horns will be blared.
  8. Once blasting is complete, one long horn will be blared to signal all-clear.

You may or may not hear the blasting itself, as soil and rubber mats absorb most of the noise.

These methods were both discussed at the community meeting held in March, and more details can be found at www.somervillema.gov/cedarstreet.

As a reminder, if you have received a letter via certified mail regarding a pre-blast survey have not yet responded, this serves as a final notice to schedule your survey.

If you need to schedule a pre-blast survey please call Seismic Solutions at 978-368-0202.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call 311, or the City’s Engineering Department at 617-625-6600 ext. 5400.

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Improvements Above and Below Ground

Improvements during this project include upgrades to both underground water & sewer infrastructure as well as surface-level roadway improvements for cars, bicycles, and pedestrians. During the first phases of construction, crews will address the major underground infrastructure work (which may mean some temporary water service disruptions, in which case residents will be notified in advance). In later phases, Cedar St. will be repaved, new, ADA compliant sidewalks added, and bike lanes striped. In all, the project will include:

  • Improving the drainage system
  • Reducing the frequency of flooding events at Hall St.
  • Separating sewer & drainage systems
  • Installing new water mains
  • Installing ADA compliant sidewalks
  • Repaving Cedar & (portions of) Elm Streets