Town of Andover Awarded $3.3 Million MassWorks Grant for Infrastructure Improvements to Essex Street Corridor
October 25, 2023
ANDOVER, MA - The Healey-Driscoll administration has announced that the Town of Andover will receive a $3.3 million grant through the Commonwealth’s MassWorks Infrastructure Program to support roadway and sidewalk improvements in the Essex Street corridor.
MassWorks is a competitive grant program administered by the state’s Executive Office of Economic Development that provides capital funding to municipalities for infrastructure projects that support housing production, private development, and job creation. The Town of Andover’s award is the largest grant received by the Town through the program to date.
The funding will enable the Town to improve municipal infrastructure along and adjacent to Essex Street, which runs from Elm Square to Red Spring Road. It also serves as a major connector road, or “spine,” of the mixed-use corridor west of Main Street. The anticipated improvements will aim to make the corridor more walkable, improve the safety of intersections along the route for all users, strengthen the connectivity between Downtown Andover and key destinations including the MBTA commuter rail station and Historic Mill District, and support future housing development.
Planned improvements include widening the sidewalk on the northern side of Essex Street to enhance pedestrian safety, the addition of bicycle accommodations, and upgrades to water and drainage systems serving the corridor. Additionally, the funding will enable the Town to implement multimodal safety improvements to three key intersections:
- Essex Street at Pearson Street/Railroad Avenue
- Essex Street at School Street
- Essex Street at Ridge Street/Brook Street
These intersections were identified as needing improvement in a Circulation and Street Design Study for the Historic Mill District completed by the Town of Andover in 2019. The intersection of Essex Street at Pearson Street and Railroad Avenue features five vehicle approaches and an active railroad crossing, making it particularly challenging to traverse for pedestrians, motorists, and bicyclists. Improvements to this intersection are imperative to proposed and future development in the corridor, and overall public safety.
Critically, the infrastructure improvements enabled through the MassWorks grant will support the development of the Old Town Yard site, a three-acre plus parcel located at 11 Lewis Street. In June, the Town of Andover finalized a Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) with Minco Development Corporation (Minco) for the site. Minco’s proposed development includes 163 residential units, community amenities, and commercial/retail space, and represents an initial investment of approximately $70 million. Under the terms of the LDA, construction of the development must begin by 2026 and reach completion by 2029, if not sooner.
“The funding provided through this MassWorks grant will have a transformative impact on Essex Street and the surrounding area, improving walkability, connecting key destinations, and serving as a catalyst for continued development in the corridor,” said Director of Planning and Land Use Paul Materazzo. “We are grateful for Commonwealth’s support of our ongoing effort to make Andover’s roadways safer for all users and to stimulate high-quality development and housing creation in the heart of the community.”
The Town of Andover’s Division of Planning and Land Use intends to conduct extensive public engagement in the months ahead to discuss proposed improvements to the Essex Street corridor to ensure that plans align with the preferences of the community, including nearby residents, businesses, and property owners.
The grant award was announced at a ceremony held on Wednesday, October 25 at Suffolk Downs in Revere that featured projects across the Commonwealth funded by the MassWorks Infrastructure Program and the HousingWorks Infrastructure Program. Governor Maura Healey, Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, Secretary Yvonne Hao, and Secretary Ed Agustus were in attendance for the event.