City of Portsmouth Announces Market Street & Commercial Alley Utility Code Compliance Work in April and May

February 27, 2023

Visit the project page for the latest updates

Starting April 10, 2023 (weather-permitting) Market Street between Bow and Daniel Streets will be closed daily during the work week to through-traffic for approximately five weeks so that utility companies and the Department of Public Works can complete several projects. Commercial Alley will 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.

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 will remain open to pedestrian traffic and deliveries throughout the work and the signage will help guide pedestrians to the affected businesses.

To complete the project as quickly and efficiently as possible, work will take place Monday through Thursday, 7 am to 5 pm, and from 7 am to 1 pm on Fridays. No work will take place on weekends without prior notice. Every effort will be made to open the road each night and Market Street will be open from Friday at 1 pm to 7 am on Monday.

Public information meeting on Market Street work is scheduled for Thursday, Mar 9 at 4 pm in City Hall Conference Room A.

Work area for Market St. Utility Code Compliance Project

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.

  • 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.

Sean Clancy, the Assistant City Manager for Economic and Community Development, will serve as the primary point of contact for all businesses. In addition, the DPW on-site staff Marc Batchelder and Christine Sproviero will assist.

Sean Clancy, Assistant City Manager for Economic and Community Development

Marc R. Batchelder, P.E. | Project Manager

Christine Sproviero

Commercial Alley