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Local Artist at New England Water Color Society Signature Members Show

Local Artist at New England Water Color Society Signature Members Show

Explore the world of watercolors inside the Guild of Boston Artists gallery on Newbury Street, where the New England Watercolor Society (NEWS) is holding its annual Signature Members Show through March 4.

Paul McMahan from Chelsea with his painting of Preston’s Bridge

Paul McMahan from Chelsea with his painting of Preston’s Bridge

On display are a variety of styles ranging from hyperrealist to abstract, from soulful portraits to detailed images of machinery to sweeping light-struck landscapes.

The exhibit offers an exceptional opportunity for anybody to come in and appreciate the high degree of artistry and technical mastery attainable in this challenging medium.

“Watercolor is an amazingly diverse medium,” said Wendy Hale, president of NEWS and a Back Bay resident. “The palette extends from richly saturated colors to muted tones. Our members’ styles are equally varied, from the traditional Andrew Wyeth to today’s modern-edgy.”

NEWS was founded in 1885 as the Boston Watercolor Society and became the New England Watercolor Society in 1980. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious watercolor societies in America.

Some early members included American art as Thomas Allen, F. Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent and more.

The Society has grown to over 400 members from all six New England states, of which nearly 200 are signature members.

The mission of the Society is to promote the advancement of aqua media arts throughout New England and to bring exceptional paintings using both traditional and innovative techniques to a wider public.

NEWS sponsors two juried shows each year. This show features the work of the Society’s signature members. The other show is open to all water-media artists in New England (in odd-numbered years) and throughout North America (in even-numbered years).

To become a signature member, a New England-based artist must be juried into four NEWS shows within a 10-year period, including at least one North American show.

“The one thing that is unique about the Signature Members Show is that it is always held in Boston every year and is always in February,” said Hale. “People can count on it.”

This year’s exhibition judge is Frederick C. Graff, a distinguished member of the American Watercolor Society. Graff had the hard job of determining the top 10 winners out of 79 pieces. He said he determined the winners based on their impact, composition and originality.

“With watercolor you’re not going to have a perfect painting,” said Graff. “So you take the best and see what they did with the composition and with their artistic ability.”

But what it really comes down to, Graff said, “Is what is the first thing that sticks out to you when you first walk into the room? For me, I usually know right away if I think something is on the top of the awards list.”

In connection with the exhibitions, the Society sponsors receptions and award presentations, gallery talks, demonstrations, and workshops led by nationally recognized water media experts.

Community artists and other interested supporters of NEWS can join as associate members. Signature and associate members are eligible for reduced fees for workshops for the regional and North American shows.

The Signature Members Show reception will be held on Saturday, Feb. 10 from 2 – 4 p.m. It is free and open to the public. All of the artwork on display is for sale.

New England Watercolor Society Signature Members Show, Guild of Boston Artists, 162 Newbury Street, Boston, through March 4, Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sundays 12-4 p.m. Painting demonstrations Sundays 1-3 p.m. Feb. 11, 18, and 25, and gallery talks Saturdays 1p.m. February 17 and 24 and March 3.

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East Boston Savings Bank Awards $1,000 to Seventh Grader for Her Patriotism in Saving the American Flag

East Boston Savings Bank Awards $1,000 to Seventh Grader for Her Patriotism in Saving the American Flag

East Boston Savings Bank’s President and CEO, Richard Gavegnano invited seventh  grader, Ashley Reardon to the bank’s Peabody Headquarters where he presented her with a community scholarship of $1,000 for retrieving an American flag she found entangled high in a tree.  Reardon, a Saugus resident and 7th grader at St. Mary’s School in Melrose, noticed the American flag in a tree while riding in the car with her mother after a snowstorm. She knew that it was wrong for the flag to be tangled in the tree instead of on the flag pole showing the highest honor of respect.

When asked, “What does the flag symbolize to you”? Ashley responded, “There are people out there in the army and in the navy risking their lives every single day for us, our country, so we can sleep safely at night knowing that we are safe and sound. We take it so much for granted; I feel like we need to show how thankful we are and it really shows respect for our country and flag and for those who have fought and died; and put their lives on the line everyday”.

“I am always impressed to see the younger generation support the troops and show their patriotism.  After seeing Ashley on the news for climbing a tree to retrieve the American flag made me want to meet her and present her with a special scholarship”, said Gavegnano.

To watch Ashley’s full interview with Fox News, click here: https://youtu.be/vvqBgC2VVx4

Founded in 1848, EBSB is a proven community bank that offers products and services that meet the deposit and financing needs of both consumers and businesses. East Boston Savings Bank currently operates 35 full-service branches and operates a Mobile Banking Unit in the greater Boston metropolitan area and offers a variety of deposit and loan products to individuals and businesses located in its primary market, which consists of Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk counties.

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Good Samaritans Help Injured Dog in Everett

Good Samaritans Help Injured Dog in Everett

Jamie-Lee Hersey, of Wakefield, was driving along Revere Beach Parkway at approximately 11 p.m. on Tuesday night when she came across a severely injured dog in the middle of the road alongside Simoniz Car Wash.  Instinctively, she immediately pulled over to help the dog, and was joined by another good Samaritan, Chris Desrochers, of Revere, who stopped to assist.

Together, Hersey and Desrochers barricaded the small dog between barrels at the car wash in order to shield it from further injury as they contacted the Everett Police Department.

Within minutes, Everett Animal Control Officer Stacia Gorgone was on scene to assist, despite being off duty at the time.  Gorgone described the scene as gruesome.

“The bottom half of his body was mutilated” she said about the small dog, and she suspected that he would need a leg amputation if he managed to survive.

A video reveals the dog was idle in the middle of the road, but the injuries are more consistent with a fall as opposed to being struck by a vehicle.  After the story circulated on social media,  Animal Control received an anonymous tip that someone had witnessed what they believed was a sweatshirt, thrown from a vehicle window at the same location within the same time range.  The Everett Police Department are currently investigating whether these injuries were a case of abuse or an unintentional accident.  Nobody has come forward to claim the dog as their own.

“It’s not clear if it’s intentional or an accident,” Gorgone explained, concerned after hearing the witness account.

While vets originally tried to save the dog’s leg, Gorgone shared the dog has since had his leg amputated, but is under great care.

“He is doing amazing,” she shared.  “He got his leg amputated as to not prolong suffering.”

The dog is currently under care with the DogMother LLC, a local holding facility for animals.  Due to high medical bills, a GoFundMe has been set up to alleviate expenses.  Already, over $9,000 has been accumulated, but volunteers are working relentlessly to raise more funding.

Since the incident, Hersey and Desrochers have already been in the process of adopting rescue dogs of their own.  Gorgone, who is an advocate for animal rescue, explained this is the silver lining to the injured pup’s story:  “Not only did they save this dog, but they were inspired to rescue other dogs, too.”

Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/HelpJamiePup and anyone with further information about the indecent is encouraged to contact the Everett Police Department at 617-387-1212.

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Marshall the Lions:Chelsea Man Brought His Love of Africa to Pictures

Marshall the Lions:Chelsea Man Brought His Love of Africa to Pictures

Most children pretend to encounter lions in the wilds of Africa, but Marshall Lawrence Reiner Jr., of Chelsea’s Cohen Florence Levine Estates, actually did encounter lions while growing up in Africa.

Photographer Dr. Marshal Reiner and Ansu Kinteh, RN, of Chelsea Jewish Elderly Care stand in the room dedicated to Dr. Reiner's work. Reiner’s amazing wildlife and landscape photography come from his love of Africa due to his upbringing in colonial Tanzania.

Photographer Dr. Marshal Reiner and Ansu Kinteh, RN, of Chelsea Jewish Elderly Care stand in the room dedicated to Dr. Reiner’s work. Reiner’s amazing wildlife and landscape photography come from his love of Africa due to his upbringing in colonial Tanzania.

Reiner, 82, has lived in Chelsea for about two years, a retired accomplished physician, and he raised many eyebrows last fall when he exhibited his marvelous photos of Africa – photos taken when he returned to his childhood home as an adult.

“At some point, I just knew I needed to go back to Africa and get back to my roots,” he said. ‘I wanted to take my wife out there and show her where I grew up – how I grew up in Tanzania. I went back about six times. It became something we did every year, and I loved taking photographs there. My favorite subject was Mt. Kilimanjaro.”

At the age of 3, Reiner’s parents moved the family from Oak Park, IL, to Tanzania on a missionary trip.

“We took an old freighter around the southern tip of Africa and up the East coast of Africa, landing in Kenya,” he said. “From there, we traveled inland to Tanzania. It was colonial Africa, and very different than now. I had a very interesting upbringing as a little boy who didn’t know where he belonged with all his African buddies. No doubt, I have a lot of crazy stories of wandering around and coming across lions and other animals…The lions don’t just go chasing anybody and they won’t really chase human beings. The only ones that will chase human beings are the older ones that are worn out and can’t catch anything else. People here think every lion is a man-eater and every human is a target. No. They save their prey. If they’re hungry, they go for it. That’s it.”

Reiner grew up in Tanzania most of his life, going to British schools and finding that they were quite adequate as he began to look at colleges and universities. When it came time to further his education, sadly he said, he had to leave what had become his homeland.

He attended Wheaton College in Illinois, then decided to study medicine in Houston at the Baylor University. He said he originally thought about being a psychiatrist, but didn’t appreciate what was being taught in that discipline at the time.

So, he decided to specialize in pediatric childhood nutrition, something that wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today.

After medical school, he landed at Children’s’ Hospital in Boston, and stayed her for the rest of his career.

“Most of my career was on Beacon Street in Brookline in practice and on staff at Children’s, Beth Israel and Brigham & Women’s,” he said.

While those days in Boston hospitals might have been fulfilling in his career, he was longing to get back to Africa.

Along the way, he met a professional photographer who was kind enough to show him how to use a camera.

“He took me under his wing and taught me all his tricks,” he said.

Reiner combined his desire to get back to Africa with his new photography skills and came back with a wonderful archive of photos from his Tanzanian home.

Now, with numerous images from Africa, he has no shortage of stories to impart with those photos.

“I always say what a lucky kid I was,” he said. “I have such wonderful memories from those days back in colonial Africa.”

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Gertrude Bial, Longtime Chelsea Resident, Dies at the Age of 94

Gertrude Bial, Longtime Chelsea Resident, Dies at the Age of 94

Gertrude (Florence) Bial of Delray Beach, Florida, formerly of Chelsea, entered into rest on Jan. 30, 2018. She was 94 years old.

Gertrude (Florence) Bial.

Gertrude (Florence) Bial.

Born in Chelsea, Mrs. Bial was the daughter of the late Myer Israel and the late Fannie (Raisman) Florence.

She graduated from Chelsea High School Class of 1941 and later attended Fisher College and Secretarial School.

During WWII, she worked as a volunteer at the Naval Ship Yard.

She was president of B’nai Brith in Chelsea, executive secretary at American Biltrite Corporation and co-owner of the Bial Upholstery Company in Boston, with her late husband, Norman Bial.

She is the devoted mother of Louis C. Bial and his late wife Deborah, Roberta Pinta and her late husband Howard, and Scott N. Bial and his wife Lisa, the cherished grandmother of Dr. Erica Bial and her husband Todd Chapin, Lauren Bial Sch­neider and her husband Eric, Matthew Bial and his wife Dr. Wendy Glaberson, Jennifer Pinta, Natalie Pinta and her husband Kevin Gonsalves, Adam J. Bial, Jason R. Bial, Jack F. Bial and Julia A. Bial, and great grandmother of Jacob, Nehemiah and Dayne Schneider and Jordan Bial. Loving sister of David Flor­ence, Rosalie Cohen and the late Sylvia Sazinsky, Bernard Florence, Dr. Lewis Florence, Dr. Hyman Florence and Leonard Florence.

Funeral services will be held at Stanetsky Memorial Chapel, Canton, on Friday, February 2, 2018.

Expressions of sym­pathy in her memory may be donated to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, www.themmrf.org, or Autism Speaks, www.autismspeaks.org/site/donation.

Mrs. Bial was a homemaker, a wonderful friend, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She will be greatly missed.

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Steve Wynn Under the Microscope:Wynn CEO Steve Wynn, Company Push Back Against Sexual Harassment Allegations

Steve Wynn Under the Microscope:Wynn CEO Steve Wynn, Company Push Back Against Sexual Harassment Allegations

The gaming world was spun on its side Friday afternoon when a Wall Street Journal report went public and described a pattern of sexual harassment by Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn – allegations that filtered through Las Vegas and into Everett where Wynn is building a $2.4 billion resort casino just a short distance from Chelsea.

Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn.

Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn.

Chelsea has a Surrounding Community Agreement (SCA) with the Wynn Boston Harbor casino.

Wynn, for his part, and the parent company, Wynn Resorts, has pushed back heavily against the allegations in strong statements on Friday.

“The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous,” said Steve Wynn in a statement. “We find ourselves in a world where people can make allegations, regardless of the truth, and a person is left with the choice of weathering insulting publicity or engaging in multi-year lawsuits. It is deplorable for anyone to find themselves in this situation.”

The report came on Friday around 2 p.m. online, and then hit the front page of the Saturday Wall Street Journal print newspaper. The story detailed – from the first paragraph – the allegation of a manicurist in Las Vegas who was called to Wynn’s office in 2005 and allegedly forced to have sex with the casino mogul. That woman was given a $7.5 million settlement after reporting the matter to Human Resources in Las Vegas.

The Journal also alleged that it interviewed dozens of other workers who have worked at Wynn casinos and they also detailed what the Journal reported as a pattern of misconduct.

That was followed up by Wynn resigning as Republican National Committee finance chairman on Saturday – a post he only took up early last year.

In their statements, Wynn and Wynn Resorts delved deep into the ongoing divorce suit between Wynn and his ex-wife, Elaine, citing that as the source of the allegations. The divorce has been ongoing for quite some time between Steve Wynn and Elaine – with the sticking point being over a revised settlement payment for Elaine Wynn’s former involvement in the business. She was a former board member of Wynn Resorts.

“The instigation of these accusations is the continued work of my ex-wife Elaine Wynn, with whom I am involved in a terrible and nasty lawsuit in which she is seeking a revised divorce settlement,” said Wynn in his statement. “Elaine has explicitly threatened to slander and destroy me and I am surprised that the media is allowing itself to be used to advance this agenda. The conduct of Elaine during the course of the pending lawsuits has been shocking and deeply disturbing to me personally and as the CEO of Wynn Resorts. Despite such conduct, I have repeatedly refused to capitulate to her demands. In response, I remain focused on Wynn Resorts, our employees and our shareholders and will not be distracted from those efforts.”

A lawyer representing Elaine Wynn told the Wall Street Journal that they were not using the allegations as a strategy in the ongoing suit.

Wynn Resorts – the Wynn parent company – went into much greater detail about the litigation.

“The recent allegations about Mr. Wynn reflect allegations made in court hearings by Mr. Wynn’s ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, in her legal battle with him and the company,” read the statement. “It is clear that Mr. Wynn’s ex-wife has sought to use a negative public relations campaign to achieve what she has been unable to do in the courtroom:  tarnish the reputation of Mr. Wynn in an attempt to pressure a revised divorce settlement from him.”

Wynn Resorts said it was “noteworthy” to point out that Elaine Wynn knew of the 2005 sexual harassment allegation as far back as 2009, but never made it known to the Board of Directors. She was a member of the Board at that time, and did not bring up those allegations until Steve Wynn remarried and the shareholders voted not to re-elect Elaine to the Board, they stated.

“Wynn Resorts is committed to operating with the highest ethical standards and maintaining a safe and respectful culture that has made Wynn Resorts the employer of choice for 23,000 employees worldwide,” read the statement. “The Company requires all employees to receive annual anti-harassment training and offers an independent hotline that any employee can use anonymously, without fear of retaliation. Since the inception of the company, not one complaint was made to that hotline regarding Mr. Wynn.”

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Major Recycler Cheering Plastic Bag Bans, Including Chelsea’s Potential One

Major Recycler Cheering Plastic Bag Bans, Including Chelsea’s Potential One

One of the largest recycling plants in the nation, Casella Waste in Charlestown, is hailing the recent spate of plastic bag bans in the area, including the discussions happening right now in Chelsea about a potential ban.

Casella handles about 200,000 tons of recycling per year and is the number one plant in Greater Boston – and a top five plant in the U.S. They handle all of the recycling for Chelsea, but one thing they hope is that the City might follow Boston in banning plastic bags – known in the industry as Low Density Poly-Ethylene (LDPEs).

“By far, plastic bag getting into the facility are the number one contaminants in single-stream recycling,” said Bob Cappadona of Casella. “By themselves, they are a very recyclable product. However, there just isn’t any market for the product. Second, with everything else, they get caught up in our machinery and cause us a lot of problems. If they come into our facility and get past our pre-sorters, they tend to get wrapped up in our disk screens and they wrap around them and cause stoppages.”

He said when bags get caught up in the disk screen machinery – which separates plastic jugs from paper/fibre products – the only way to remove them is the old fashioned way:  with a razor blade.

“There are so many that get in there that at lunch or at break time we have to keep two or three people there to clean the disk screens of plastic bags,” he said. “Every three or four hours we have to go in and clean it up.”

Cappadona said he doesn’t want to malign plastic bags because they are a good recycled product on their own, if people were to take them back to the grocery store as directed.

However, many people throw them in the recycling, many times because they don’t know. On its face, it looks like something that could be recycled in the traditional curbside barrels. However, it is one plastic item that isn’t accepted, but routinely gets in the stream.

In Chelsea, Russell Disposal picks up all the recycling on the curb, and from there, they take it to Casella on Rutherford Avenue, behind Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown.

Once there, that’s when problems come.

“They are a good recycling product on their own, but when they get here with everything else, they are a contaminant,” he said.

In terms of the ban that will go into effect in Boston, Cappadona said they aren’t really preparing, but they are excited about it. And they hope others might follow suit to make their recycling product purer.

The Chelsea City Council has been exploring the idea of a ban for the last month, with two meetings so far on the issue. While many are calling for a ban to prevent litter and for environmental reasons, businesses in the area are concerned about the increasing cost burden it will put on them to use alternative bags that are more expensive.

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MGC says Wynn Organization Did Not Inform Them of Settlement

MGC says Wynn Organization Did Not Inform Them of Settlement

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) on Wednesday, Jan. 31, held a special hearing into the allegations against Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn – a Massachusetts gaming licensee – and said they were not told of the 2005 private settlement, while at the same time urging fairness and speed in the investigation.

The one-hour hearing was unique in that it was one of about three government-level hearings now going on internationally, with others now underway in Nevada and Macau (China). Another is going on privately within the Wynn organizations by a Special Committee of the Board of Directors.

Chair Steve Crosby led off the meeting by saying that the MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) would not rush to judgment or impugn anyone.

“Before we begin, I’d like to reiterate that we have a shared sense of urgency about this serious matter, but careful diligence must be a top priority,” he said. “The stakes are enormous and many lives are involved— from the lives of the women allegedly abused, to the lives of men and women in Everett now building the project, to the senior executives and board members of Wynn Resorts. We will get this right and we will get it right as quickly as we can.”

He finished the meeting by saying he wants a very open investigation so the people know what happened.

“The people of Massachusetts have the right to know what the hell happened here with no punches pulled,” he said. “Having to hold back things ifs something this Commissioner will not look favorably on.”

The MGC announced last Friday after the allegations surfaced that they would initiate an investigation in their IEB division. On Wednesday, the first volley of that investigation was launched.

Somewhat of a revelation was when IEB Director Karen Wells said Wynn Resorts or Steve Wynn never told anyone in 2013 about the $7.5 million settlement associated with the recent allegation of sexual harassment by a Wynn hotel manicurist in Las Vegas.

“I corroborated that information with counsel for Wynn Resorts who confirmed that there was in-fact a settlement and that it was not disclosed to investigators upon advice of counsel,” said Wells. “She also confirmed that the settlement itself was not part of any court action or litigation and that no lawsuit was filed at any time.  There were no court documents filed that could have been identified in the course of the investigation.  This was a private agreement and steps were taken to keep it from the public domain. The circumstances around this $7.5M settlement and the decision not to disclose it to investigators remain a critical element of this review.”

For the commissioners, there was a sense of seriousness, but also one of attentiveness. No one wanted to engage in something unfair to Wynn or anyone else.

“The single most important thing at this stage is to get control of the facts by figuring them out as quickly as possible,” said Commissioner Lloyd MacDonald. “I urge you to be scrupulously diligent and work with speed, thoroughness and objectivity. That will be key.”

Wells said she had no idea how long the investigation would take as they have just embarked on it.

“It’s hard to give a timeline because once you start conducting interviews, it could lead you in many different directions,” she said.

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Potential Wynn Branding Problems Likely to Move into Uncharted Territory

Potential Wynn Branding Problems Likely to Move into Uncharted Territory

One of the biggest questions floating around all of Greater Boston right now regarding the allegations against CEO Steve Wynn is whether or not the casino building here will carry his signature brand name at the top when it opens in 2019 – a brand that has gone from impeccable to potentially tainted in a few day’s time.

Experts in the field of marketing and branding – something that is heavily studied and critically important in today’s business world – are closely watching this case with Wynn.

Locally, Northeastern University Assistant Professor Charn McAllister, who teaches in the Management and Organizational Development Department at Northeastern, said there are so many firsts in this case when it comes to branding.

One of the major issues with the Wynn situation is that the company is heavily tied to the man for whom some seriously negative allegations are being made. The company is tied so heavily that it in fact carries a brand name that is now associated with that negativity.

“I think Steve Wynn in many ways is the heart and soul of Wynn Resorts,” McAllister said. “It’s a cult of personality. When people invest in Wynn, they are investing in Steve Wynn…Five or six months ago, you would expect a company to remove an individual from a position of leadership. How do you do that when the company is the person? Though these are still allegations, it’s like Weinstein in that the allegations were so horrible that the name of the business became poison. When your name is on the building and on everything else, at that point it puts the Board in a very difficult situation.”

That difficult situation comes from the fact that the Board for Wynn – a publicly traded company – has stated in federal filings that the loss of Wynn from their company would mean significant financial losses. Now, they are facing a decision about the loss of Wynn versus the losses from the bad name via the publicity.

“They have already stated in SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) filings that the loss of Steve Wynn would result in major losses to the company, but at the same time you just had a 14 percent drop in your stock price because of Steve Wynn,” he said.

The branding of Wynn has been carefully guarded since the company arrived in Everett. From the local office to the Las Vegas office, the company has been very careful since day one to remain on brand and on message in all communications and imagery. That’s because they have spent decades building the name ‘Wynn’ into an image and vision of luxury and something fun and clean.

The allegations against Wynn now, which he fully denies, are anything but clean and fun. Regardless of their validity or not – or the circumstances of them surfacing – McAllister said today’s court of public opinion is very harsh on a brand.

He said some of the things he will be watching as the investigation moves forward is whether the company has a hard time recruiting new employees as they ramp up for the 2019 opening due to the public perception of the brand.

“The brand integrity is going to be downgraded substantially,” he said. “Recruiting for the company will be harder likely because the new potential candidates may not be so eager to work for the company. It’s not that they are afraid so much of getting assaulted, but the image of the company. Do you want to go home and tell your parents or friends that you work for this brand that is now associated with such bad things?”

McAllister said other things he is watching is how the allegations might be interpreted internationally, since Wynn has locations in Asia as well.

He also said he believes more companies might re-think making their brand the name of a company leader or founder. He said, for example, that everyone knows Jeff Bezos is the leader of Amazon, but the company doesn’t bear his name.

More than anything, McAllister said the unprecedented part of the situation will be whether public perception forces the brand to change. That, of course, is a question that nearly all of Everett is wondering as well.

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Viaduct Project Reconsidering Elimination of 5th Street On-Ramp

Viaduct Project Reconsidering Elimination of 5th Street On-Ramp

After a packed meeting last Wednesday, Jan. 24, project managers for the state Department of Transportation (MassDOT) said they are reconsidering a recommendation to eliminate the 5th Street onramp as part of the overall three-year Chelsea Viaduct Rehabilitation project.

Joseph Pavao, project manager, said a consultant for MassDOT told them it was believed the onramp could be eliminated. It was believed that the Everett Street ramp and Cottage Street ramp could absorb the traffic.

However, Pavao said they have heard loud and clear from the community that it might not be popular.

“As of right now, it’s still under consideration,” he said. “We have certainly heard the concerns of the local community. We certainly heard it loud and clear at the meeting last week…After an internal study, we thought we could handle any traffic from the closure with the ramps at Cottage Street and Everett Avenue. However, based on community feedback and elected officials, we are reconsidering that and seeing if it’s a prudent thing to do on this project.”

He did say they would definitely be closing the 5th Street onramp at least temporarily for about three or four months in 2020 during the repairs to the superstructure of the Viaduct. Beyond that, though, they are reconsidering the original plan to fully discontinue it.

That reconsideration came chiefly from Councilor Roy Avellaneda and other elected officials and business leaders that sounded off late last year when it was first reported that the ramp might close.

Concerns about traffic coming down Broadway and further clogging Everett Avenue were chief among the comments.

Pavao said they have met with City Manager Tom Ambrosino recently about a mitigation package that was presented to MassDOT late last year. He also said that he hopes to be on the agenda of the next Chelsea City Council meeting to present an official mitigation plan for the project.

The project is now at 25 percent design, and they are hoping to advance it to a final design very soon. He said they hope to have it advertised to bidders this spring.

“We want to advertise this for bids in late March or early April,” he said.

The project includes fixing about 260,000 sq. ft. of structurally deficient decking and superstructure. It doesn’t mean those portions of the viaduct are unsafe, but they certainly need to be repaired.

The project also includes work on the structure below the bridge, improving lighting, improving drainage and making parking lot improvements under the bridge.

They hope to have a contractor on board soon and potentially start in October 2018. The majority of the work will begin in 2019, and that will be on the underneath of the bridge and won’t impact Rt. 1 traffic.

In 2020, that’s when the superstructure work will begin and that will be very cumbersome for traffic.

“That’s when we’ll have permanent lane reductions to two lanes in both directions,” he said.

He said they will use accelerated bridge repair techniques, and they will work 12 weekends (55 hours each weekend) during the project.

It is slated to end in early 2021 with paving and small items.

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