Utilities Code Compliance Project - Market St. & Commercial Alley

Commercial Alley pole location

COMMERCIAL ALLEY POLE REMOVAL TUES AUG 1 – Grattan Line Construction working on the behalf of Eversource will start work at 7 am on the cutover of the rest of the wires off the pole on Commercial Alley.  They will move the lift into the Alley prior to 8 am when the bakery opens so as not to impact the outdoor seating at Elephantine Bakery.  They will be working on the roofs to complete this wiring cutover and temporary outages before 10 am, as noticed to affected businesses. Elephantine Bakery has agreed to close slightly earlier at 1 pm so that the removal of the rest of the wires and pole can occur at that time.  During the actual removal of the pole and wires the Alley around the pole will be closed to pedestrian traffic but allow access to Corks and Curds as well as Salt Cellar from Penhallow and Market respectively.  The plan is also to have flaggers on both ends and will stop work briefly if necessary for deliveries, etc.  The crews have been made aware that any equipment that is brought into the alley will be matted so that there will be no damage to the newly installed brick work.

For approximately 6 weeks between April and early June, Market Street between Bow and Daniel Streets was closed to through-traffic daily during the work week for approximately five weeks so that utility companies and the Department of Public Works can complete several projects. Commercial Alley was also be affected by this work. The City is facilitating this utility work involving Eversource, Unitil, Comcast and Consolidated Communications to complete these repairs quickly to minimize the disruption to Market Street and Commercial Alley’s businesses and residents.

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The work includes:

  • Unitil replacement of the gas main and upgrade to gas services from Market Square to Bow Street;
  • Eversource, Comcast and Consolidated installation of new conduit under Commercial Alley; and
  • Department of Public Works realignment of a small section of water main in order to install a new sewer manhole and a liner in the sewerage line.  

Sidewalks on Market Street and access to Commercial Alley businesses remain open to pedestrian traffic and deliveries throughout the work and the signage will help guide pedestrians to the affected businesses.

Market Street (Unitil and DPW)

All Work - Complete

Mill & Pave Street - Fall 2023

Commercial Alley (Eversource)

Underground Utility Work & Restoration – Complete

Upgrading Electric Wiring in New Underground Conduits:

      #7, 9, 11 Commercial Alley - Transfer to Underground - Complete  

      #31 Market Street - Transfer to Underground - Mon 6/19 at 6:00pm         

De-Energizing and Removal of Utility Pole – TBD

Information Sessions

Public information meetings were held at Commercial Alley on Feb 27, and regarding the Market Street work at City Hall on Mar 9.

View the project overview presentation from the March 9 session.

Work area for Market St. Utility Code Compliance Project
Map of the affected area

Project Description:

Several issues with the utility infrastructure in Market Street and Commercial Alley must be addressed:

  • Unitil plans to replace the natural gas main on Market Street from Bow Street to Market Square. This work will impact all gas services to buildings along that section of the roadway.
  • The electrical wires and communications cables for many properties in Commercial Alley have traveled over the rooftops of other buildings since Market Square was redesigned in the 1970s. This is no longer allowed by electrical codes. In addition, electrical demand now exceeds existing capacity. Eversource is partnering with Consolidated Communications and Comcast to rewire Commercial Alley via new underground conduits so that all overhead wires in Commercial Alley can be removed.
  • The sewer line on Market Street is approximately 130 years old. Last December, DPW crews repaired a large sink hole that formed in the middle of Market Street because a section of unused 130-year-old pipe collapsed. To remedy this, DPW will install a PVC liner in the wastewater pipe that is currently in use. This liner will coat the interior surface of the pipe to minimize the potential for future sink holes while reinforcing the sewer main.

The project timeline is as follows:

Construction will start April 10, weather-permitting and the utility work will proceed for five weeks.

  • Tree removal on Commercial Alley is scheduled for March 27 starting at 7 am. The City’s Parks & Greenery Division must remove the tree in Commercial Alley. This will affect pedestrian access at the Penhallow-Commercial Alley intersection. [Updated 3/16/23]
  • After the underground work is complete, the restoration work will begin. The sidewalk and Commercial Alley areas that were disturbed will be repaired in May. Outside dining can also begin once Market Street is reopened.
  • Full use of the area will resume, Memorial Day through mid-October. Once outside dining ends on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, DPW will then repave and repaint the roadway.

Each utility will pay for its own work and restoration expenses (repaving and brick repairs) will be divided among them based on the impacts created.