Power line savings may offset Lynn bond debt

September 17, 2010
By David Liscio/The Daily Item

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy is mulling how to best use the anticipated $1 million savings from National Grid's power line relocation work along the Lynnway.

Lynn taxpayers agreed to secure a $4 million bond to help fund the $6 million project, which is nearing completion and will leave the waterfront ripe for redevelopment.

Earlier this week city officials learned from National Grid that the utility's costs were closer to $3 million than $4 million.

"A million dollars is quite a bit of found money," Mayor Kennedy said Thursday. "It just came to our attention, so we will be exploring all the options."

Kennedy said she will consult with the Law Department to learn whether the funds must be directed toward a specific use.

The stone bulkhead, which sits adjacent to the Blossom Street public boat ramp in Lynn, is slated for improvements.

"I would suggest that it go toward reducing the debt exposure that we have," said James Marsh, community development director. "We might actually save a little more than $1 million. But what we do with it is not my decision. As for the power lines, we're down to the last hole where the old towers are being removed. The lines on the new towers are already energized."

With the towers relocated, the city can move toward the second phase of the project, which includes using a $250,000 federal grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge a navigation channel in Lynn Harbor.

"The big thing is to connect the channel paralleling the Nahant Causeway, which takes a left and stops at the industrial pier," Marsh said. "The idea is to dredge along the bulkhead where the power lines were, all the way to the Saugus River, so that it makes a continuous loop."

Marsh said the boating channel is important because it would allow potential real estate developers to easily build marinas along the waterfront.

"The Lynnway is our own Storrow Drive," said Marsh, referring to the winding road that follows the Charles River through Boston and separates the city from the water. "There are some 20-odd pedestrian bridges over Storrow Drive, but there's only one over the Lynnway, near the state park."

Marsh said pedestrians can safely cross Lynn Shore Drive to reach Red Rock Park, but getting across the Lynnway is a different matter. "It's taking your life in your own hands," he said. "There are six traffic lanes - seven in some places - plus a median strip that is as wide as another lane and a fence on top of that, right where you would want access for pedestrians. Route 128, a major highway, is only four lanes wide by comparison with a median strip only three feet wide."

If the city had unlimited resources, it could suppress the Lynnway underground, just as Boston did with its expressway, said Marsh, adding that it's more likely Lynn could erect pedestrian bridges over the Lynnway, or dig tunnel passageways beneath the busy road.

Back to News