I Have Questions About Work Not Completed on Highland and Herbert

You should have the same questions as it concerns wasting taxpayer money

By Jon Puopolo

Hi all, I am writing to bring to your attention the waste of taxpayer’s funds for the reconstruction of Highland Ave and Herbert St. I am familiar with street reconstruction and construction project management. I base my comments on what I have come to know as the lack of efficiency, oversight and financial waste for the rework at this project.

Back in 2020, Highland Ave, approximately 100 yards long, was on the street replacement list. Herbert Street was added in 2021, when the mayor was campaigning and door knocking, and listening to street disrepair complaints. He said then he was committed to get both the deteriorated streets completed by year end 2021.

Guess what?

That didn’t happen, yet. well that didn’t happen, yet.

The gas company started the project replacing their main lines and every home connection on Highland Ave during 2020. Their work was delayed and ran into the winter which of course delayed opportunity for sidewalk and asphalt work. When they completed their work, the street was in total disrepair with temporary patches end to end.

Then in 2021, new sidewalks were in- stalled on both Highland and Herbert. This took only a few weeks, but no street repavement work was started in 2021. Why?

I discussed this project with Council President John Hanlon, who spoke to the city engineer who expected the street to be repaved in the June time frame. Then on August 22, 2022, both streets were ground down for full depth reclamation (see pic). The asphalt binder coat was placed within a couple weeks of reclamation. Wonderful, we thought we were on our way to the end of the project. Maybe in other cities this might have been true.

Not in Everett.

Next, we know in October the new binder coat and new sidewalks were being dug up for the placement of street drainage manholes and pipes. Not only was the project totally dysfunctional in terms of the overall project management timeline, but digging up newly placed sidewalks and binder coat is beyond ridiculous and wasteful. (see pics).

Here we are half way through November the digging continues and we are wondering if we will have the final paving work done before the asphalt plant closes for the winter? Will this street be completed before we go into 2023?

Additional questions: Why does it take this long to reconstruct a street the length of a football field? Why was the project stepped out to result in new sidewalks and new binder coat being ripped up? Why wasn’t the street drainage work scheduled before the new sidewalks when the street was ripped up in disrepair for 3 years?

Be my guest to take a walk through these 2 streets as the pictures are only a sample of the waste. My neighbors have been with out their new sidewalks now waiting for the return of new sidewalks for far too long.

When will this work be completed?

God help this city with the Ferry St / Elm St/ Chelsea St project!


Jon Puopolo is a lifelong resident, a city hall watchdog, and a harsh critic of city hall’s waste and mismanagement.

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