hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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December 6, 2012

The Lamp Post

Repairs to the highway on the Interstate 495 bridge going over the Merrimack River continue, and so does the nuisance that comes with it. Lately drivers have been delayed is getting to work and sometimes on their trips home, as state troopers and highway crews shut down one and sometimes two lanes of the highway. It often slows traffic to a crawl. The Lamplighter has been in the middle of those traffic jams several times and wonders how drivers keep their cool during the repeated delays.

The positive side of driving locally comes with this year’s repaving of several streets, most notably Main Street just south of Walnut Square and Summer Street. It is a pleasure to drive those areas without having to dodge potholes or other problem spots.

Two incidents last week made the Lamplighter wonder about the inconsistencies of using police officers to direct traffic around construction sites. On the same day, an officer was stationed at the top of Hazen Avenue where it meets Boardman Street to watch over National Grid workers making some underground repairs. At the same time, there was no officer at the intersection of Lawrence and Main streets, where a local company was paving a driveway — a job that sometimes brought workers and equipment into the often-busy street. The workers placed orange cones in the road to guide traffic around the job. It was clear to the Lamplighter that an officer was needed more at the Lawrence Street site than the Hazen Avenue one. Wonder why none was there?

All this talk of linking downtown Merrimack Street buildings to the river through zoning changes has the Lamplighter imagining the possibility of decks coming off the back of those buildings and extending toward the flood wall. It would be a scene reminiscent of what has happened to Washington Street buildings along the river and would be a welcome development. Maybe more restaurants will pop up in the Merrimack Street end of downtown, furthering the use of the river.

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