Willard Street Drainage Improvement Project

The City of Cambridge has contracted with a consultant, HDR Engineering, to provide engineering design services for the Willard Street Drainage Improvement Project. The design will include replacing and/or rehabilitating the sewer and stormwater infrastructure and the construction of a new stormwater pipe and outfall at the Charles River, evaluation and implementation of stormwater best management practices, and water main replacement. Eversource is also expected to replace the gas main in advance of the city’s construction. Due to the construction required to make these subsurface improvements, there is an opportunity to evaluate surface improvements to the roadway to promote traffic calming and improvements to bicycle and pedestrian accessibility.

Willard Street Drainage Improvement Project
Project Update: April 24, 2019


As part of advance work for the Willard Street Drainage Improvement Project, the City’s contractor Mattuchio Construction will be performing construction along Longfellow Park (“Upper” Section”) beginning on or about May 1, 2019 (weather dependent).

The approximate limits of the work, which consists of installation of an underground stormwater infiltration system and related piping and manholes, is shown below (yellow area).



How does this work relate to the Willard Street project?
Currently, stormwater runoff from Longfellow Park, as well as other areas along Brattle Street, flows via underground pipes to the overburdened storm drain system in Willard Street. One of the ways to reduce the recurrent flooding problems along Willard Street, in addition to re-sizing and reconstructing Willard Street’s storm drain system, is to remove flows from the system. The proposed system in Longfellow Park will allow a significant amount of storm runoff to be infiltrated into the ground beneath the central lawn area. This will not only provide relief along Willard Street; it will also reduce flows of stormwater to the Charles River, thus improving the river’s water quality.

Additional details about the infiltration system may be viewed in a presentation which DPW made to the Cambridge Historical Commission, found under the “Documents” tab at www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/willardst

Note that following completion of the drainage work, the City plans to restore the impacted lawn, repave the entire Longfellow Park roadway, and replace the two granite block sidewalk crossings at the Brattle Street end with wheelchair accessible granite pavers. The new pavers will be similar to those which exist at the Longfellow House driveway on the north side of Brattle Street.

What to expect during this construction:
  • Work will occur during normal weekday hours of 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM.
  • There will be noise and disruption from construction activities.
  • The drainage work is expected to take approximately 2 weeks to complete.
  • Parking at the southern end of the loop roadway may be restricted at times. “No Parking” signs will be posted 24-hours in advance; please be sure to check dates/times.
  • Pedestrian access and access to abutting properties will be maintained.
  • Emergency vehicles will have access at all times and all city services will continue.


Willard Street Drainage Improvement Project
Project Update: March 5, 2019
As part of advance work for the Willard Street Drainage Improvement Project, the City’s contractor Mattuchio Construction will be performing some limited drainage pipe and structure installation beginning on or about March 11, 2019 (weather dependent).

The approximate limits of the work, which consists of a pipe crossing Willard Street just south of Dinsmore Court, and a new manhole to be installed in the east sidewalk, is shown on the photo below (yellow line). 
Map of Willard St.  

What is the status of the overall project and why is this work occurring now?

The City has been coordinating with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) regarding the proposed pipeline crossing of Memorial Drive, and the new drainage outfall to the Charles River. These are critical elements of the project to alleviate stormwater flooding on and adjacent to Willard Street. This coordination has taken longer than anticipated, but we are still hopeful to complete the design, and advertise for construction in Spring/Summer of 2019. This would allow construction to begin in Summer/Fall 2019. The City still plans to conduct an open-house for neighborhood residents once the larger project has been bid and a Contractor has been selected and is on-board.

In the meantime, the City plans to proceed with a relatively minor – but important – element of the project, consisting of a pipe connection from the Cambridge Skate Club, across to the existing sewer in Willard Street. We are breaking this piece of the work out separately, as it also requires work on Skate Club property and must be closely coordinated with the club’s Skating and Tennis season operations.

What to expect during this construction:
  • Work will occur during normal weekday hours of 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM.
  • There will be noise and disruption from construction activities.
  • The work is expected to take approximately 1-2 weeks to complete.
  • Similar to when the gas construction was performed in 2017, vehicle access and on-street parking will be impacted during working hours (primarily between Dinsmore and Mt. Auburn). Please follow posted parking restriction and detour signs.
  • “No Parking” signs will be posted 24-hours in advance; please be sure to check dates/times.
  • Pedestrian access and access to abutting properties will be maintained. Pedestrians should please follow posted signs which may direct them onto temporary walkways at times. All temporary walkways will be ADA accessible.
  • Emergency vehicles will have access at all times and all city services will continue.

For Information and Assistance During Construction
If you have any questions about the construction work or need assistance, including if you have any special needs or disabilities that require special accommodations, please contact Kate Riley, DPW Community Relations Manager at (617) 349-4870 or kriley@cambridgema./gov. More information about the project in general can be found at www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/willardst .

In case of a construction emergency, please call the Cambridge Public Works Department 24-hour hotline at 617-349-4800.
Willard Street Drainage Improvement Project
Project Update: February 13, 2019

The City has been coordinating with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) regarding the proposed pipeline crossing of Memorial Drive, and the new drainage outfall to the Charles River. These are critical elements of the project to alleviate stormwater flooding on and adjacent to Willard Street. This coordination has taken longer than anticipated, resulting in some delay to the project. The City is still hopeful to complete the design, obtain all required permits (some of which require DCR approval as a pre-requisite), and advertise for construction in Spring of 2019. This would allow construction to begin in Summer 2019. The City still plans to conduct an open-house for neighborhood residents once the project has been bid and a Contractor has been selected and is on-board.

In the meantime, the City plans to proceed with a relatively minor – but important – element of the project, consisting of a pipe connection from the Cambridge Skate Club, across to the existing sewer in Willard Street. We are breaking this piece of the work out separately, as it also requires work on Skate Club property and must be closely coordinated with the club’s Skating and Tennis season operations. This work will be performed by the City’s “on-call” contractor, and thus does not require a bidding process. This work is expected to be performed in March 2019. Once the start date for this work is more definitively known, DPW will send an advance notification to project abutters and the general project contact list.


Willard Street Drainage Improvement Project
Tree and Landscape Walk, Saturday, June 2

As part of the City’s on-going design efforts for the Willard Street Drainage Improvement Project, we will be offering a site walk of Willard Street to look at tree and landscape planting opportunities.    

Please join members of the City and Consultant team, including the project’s landscape architect, on Saturday, June 2 at 10:00 AM at the corner of Willard and Brattle Streets.  

Our plan is to walk the street and discuss potential landscape improvements within the public right-of-way, as well as the City’s voluntary private property “back of sidewalk” tree planting program.  We expect this site walk to be of primary interest to direct abutters of the project, but of course all are welcome to attend.

In the event of rain, please call 617.349.9720 for a message regarding status/postponement of the site walk.

Please contact me with any questions at jfriedman@cambridgema.gov/ 617.349.9720.    

To learn more about this project, please visit the webpage at www.CambridgeMA.gov/TheWorks/WillardSt

To learn more about the “back of sidewalk” tree planting program, please visit  https://www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/ourservices/urbanforestry/citystreeplantingprograms/backofsidewalk


Willard Street Drainage Improvement Project
Conservation Commission Notification

We wanted to explain why some - but not all - of you have recently received notification via Certified Mail, regarding a Notice of Intent filed with the Cambridge Conservation Commission and Massachusetts DEP for the Willard Street stormwater outfall.

The notification is required to be officially sent to all abutters within a 500-foot radius of the impacted wetland resource area and its designated buffer zone. The buffer zone is the lighter blue line on the map below, and the 500-foot radius is the black line.

If you should learn that one of your neighbors receives this notification, while you did not, then the location of your home relative to that black line is probably the reason why.

Be assured that this does not mean you have fallen off our notification list, or that construction is imminent! The Conservation Commission approval is a necessary step for the project, specifically the construction of the new outfall pipe to the Charles River, and is typically obtained at this stage of the design process. The overall status, next steps, and schedule of the project are still as summarized in our February, 2018 Project Update, which can be viewed at: http://www.cambridgema.gov/~/media/Files/publicworksdepartment/Engineering/cityprojects/willardst2017/willardstreetflyerfeb2018update_final.pdf)

The Notice of Intent materials can also be viewed under the “Documents” tab.

As always, if you have any questions about the project, please contact me at 617.349.9720 or at jfriedman@cambridgema.gov.


Project Update – February 2018 

Please see the "Documents" tab of this page for an important project update, including confirmation of the design option which the City is moving forward with, and information on Next Steps, Schedule, and continued Community Outreach


Community Meeting Notice
Willard St. Community Meeting Scheduled for Thursday, October 19

City staff and their consultant team will present the preferred design alternative for the Willard Street Drainage Improvement Project, which includes replacing and/or rehabilitating the sewer and stormwater infrastructure and the construction of a new stormwater pipe and outfall at the Charles River, evaluation and implementation of stormwater best management practices, and water main replacement. 

The project also provides an opportunity to provide surface improvements, including accessible sidewalks, traffic calming, landscaping, and improved bicycle facilities . This meeting will focus on the alternative developed based on public input from the previous two community meetings to address both the subsurface and surface conditions. We encourage community members to attend to learn more about the project and provide feedback.

For more information, please visit www.CambridgeMa.gov/theworks/WillardSt. If you would like to join an email distribution list to receive further information and updates on potential future drainage improvements in the Willard Street area, please visit bit.ly/WillardSt.

If you have any questions about this work or the upcoming meeting, contact Christi Apicella, Community Relations Liaison for the project, at 617.556.0020 (ext‐3003) or capicella@mcmahonassociates.com; or Dan Riviello, DPW Community Relations Manager at 617.349.4825 or driviello@cambridgema.gov


Eversource Gas Main Work
Utility work scheduled to begin in early September

As discussed at previous Willard Street community meetings, Eversource Gas plans to replace their existing obsolete gas main on Willard Street in advance of the City’s reconstruction project.

This work will ensure that, upon completion of the City’s project in 2018, the public and private underground infrastructure will be in good condition and there should be no need (other than unanticipated emergencies) for the street to be disrupted in the years to come. The Eversource work, which will begin in early September, has been coordinated with the City’s designs.

We would like to emphasize that the work you will see in September and into the fall is strictly Eversource work. As discussed previously, the City is committed to another community meeting this fall where we will present the updated designs for the sewer, drainage and surface streetscape work. No City work will occur until after we have presented our design to the community and received additional feedback.

Property owners should be receiving a notice from Eversource in the coming days with more details about their upcoming work.

If you have any questions about this work or the upcoming meeting, contact Christi Apicella, Community Relations Liaison for the project, at 617.556.0020 (ext‐3003) or capicella@mcmahonassociates.com; or Dan Riviello, DPW Community Relations Manager at 617.349.4825 or driviello@cambridgema.gov


Community Meeting Notice
Willard St. Community Meeting Scheduled for Thursday, June 15th

City staff and their consultant team will present preliminary design alternatives for the Willard Street Drainage Improvement Project, which includes replacing and/or rehabilitating the sewer and stormwater infrastructure and the construction of a new stormwater pipe and outfall at the Charles River, evaluation and implementation of stormwater best management practices, and water main replacement. The project also provides an opportunity to provide surface improvements, including accessible sidewalks, traffic calming and better bicycle facilities. This meeting will focus on several alternatives we have developed which address both the subsurface and surface conditions. We encourage community members to attend to learn more about the project and provide feedback.

For more information, please visit www.CambridgeMa.gov/theworks/WillardSt. If you would like join an email distribution list to receive further information and updates on potential future drainage improvements in the Willard Street area, please visit bit.ly/WillardSt.

If you have any questions about this work or the upcoming meeting, contact Christi Apicella, Community Relations Liaison for the project, at 617.556.0020 (ext‐3003) or capicella@mcmahonassociates.com; or Dan Riviello, DPW Community Relations Manager at 617.349.4825 or driviello@cambridgema.gov


May 2017

The next public meeting to discuss the Willard St project will be held on Thursday, June 15th.  Notices will be delivered to residents in advance of the meeting.


April 2017

The City’s contractor, the Horsley Witten Group (HW), is evaluating the existing sewer and stormwater systems along Willard Street (from Brattle Street to Mount Auburn Street).  

As part of this process, connections from certain homes to these systems need to be inspected. This work involves inspection of basement plumbing to evaluate where and how homes are connected to the City’s systems.

Affected residents will be notified directly.


Community Meeting Notice - March 8, 2017
Willard St. Community Meeting Scheduled for Thursday, March 30th

City staff and their consultant will present an overview of the Willard Street Drainage Improvement Project at a community meeting on Thursday, March 30 from 6:30-8:30pm in the Friends Room at the Friends Meeting at Cambridge located at 5 Longfellow Park.

This project includes replacing and/or rehabilitating the sewer and stormwater infrastructure and the construction of a new stormwater pipe and outfall at the Charles River, evaluation and implementation of stormwater best management practices, and water main replacement. Due to the construction required to make these subsurface improvements, there is an opportunity to evaluate surface improvements to the roadway to promote traffic calming and improvements to bicycle and pedestrian accessibility. We encourage neighborhood members to attend to learn more about the project.

For more information, please visit www.CambridgeMa.gov/theworks/WillardSt. If you would like join an email distribution list to receive further information and updates on potential future drainage improvements in the Willard Street area, please visit bit.ly/WillardSt.

If you have any questions about this work or the upcoming meeting, contact Christi Apicella, Community Relations Liaison for the project, at 617.556.0020 (ext‐3003) or capicella@mcmahonassociates.com; or Dan Riviello, DPW Community Relations Manager at 617.349.4825 or driviello@cambridgema.gov


Ground survey has been conducted in the area of Dinsmore Court and Willard Street (from Brattle Street to Mount Auburn Street) and portions of Memorial Drive for engineering purposes.

In November 2016 sewer and stormwater pipes were cleaned using a high pressure water jet and internal pipe inspections were conducted. Additional cleaning and inspection work is scheduled in the coming month.
Eversource Gas completed their replacement of gas mains and services on Willard Street in 2017.


The remainder of the project is currently in the final design and permitting phase. Due to ongoing coordination with the DCR regarding work on DCR property between Mt. Auburn Street and the Charles River, the project has been delayed somewhat.
  • It is expected that the majority of the project work will be advertised for construction bids in the spring of 2019, with construction commencing in the summer of 2019.
  • Once a Contractor is selected, and before construction begins, there will be a community meeting to review the final design plans as well as the construction process and schedule.
  • A small portion of the work, consisting of a new drain pipe crossing Willard Street near the Cambridge Skate Club, will occur in March 2019. This work will be performed by the City’s “on-call” contractor and will not need to be advertised for bids. Once the start date for this work is more definitively known, DPW will send an advance notification to project abutters and the general project contact list.

The project area includes Willard Street from where it begins at Brattle Street, across Mount Auburn Street to the Charles River, and includes Dinsmore Court. The Willard Street neighborhood has experienced flooding on several occasions. The flooding appears to be caused by insufficient hydraulic capacity in the existing stormwater infrastructure during significant precipitation events.

Kate Riley - Community Relations Manager

617-349-4870

kriley@cambridgema.gov


Jerry Friedman - Senior Engineer

617-349-9720

jfriedman@cambridgema.gov



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Dept of Public Works

147 Hampshire St
Cambridge MA 02139

Phone:617.349.4800
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