Inconvenience to motorists lessens as Boscawen opens

Posted: January 12, 2013

The Winchester Star

Boscawen Street (above and below) has been reopened to traffic at the point where it crosses the Loudon Street Mall. It has been closed during the recent renovation work along the mall. (Photo by Scott Mason/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — Pedestrians will be dealing with construction on the Loudoun Street Mall for months.

But the inconvenience to motorists was reduced greatly Friday morning.

Boscawen Street between Indian Alley and Cameron Street, which had been mostly closed since the mall infrastructure replacement project began Jan. 2, was reopened to traffic at about 11 a.m.

“We know how important it is to keep Boscawen Street open as much as we possibly can throughout the project,” said Perry Eisenach, the city’s public services director. “That’s always a critical issue.”

Temporary closures will still be needed at times as the project progresses, he said, but those disruptions will be as brief as possible.

State College, Pa.-based HRI Inc. is being paid $7.1 million to replace underground infrastructure along the pedestrian mall, install a new surface and add some ground-level amenities. The project’s cost includes $700,000 for public bathrooms, gateway entrances and a splash pad water feature.

The construction is scheduled to be completed by April 30. HRI has until May 31 to finish the landscaping.

It is the pedestrian mall’s first major renovation since it was built in 1974, covering about 1,600 feet between Piccadilly and Cork streets.

Finishing the work in and around the Boscawen-Loudoun intersection so Boscawen can be reopened should allow HRI to turn its focus to other areas of the mall.

“I think in the next two weeks,” Eisenach said at Wednesday’s update meeting, “you’ll really start to see them moving down the mall.”

Plans call for crews to work from the center of the mall toward both ends.

At the update meeting, Eisenach said he was pleased with HRI’s start on the project.

“For the first week,” he said, “I’ve been very pleased with the contractor. They’ve jumped in and hit things hard.”

— Contact Vic Bradshawat