Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll announced Wednesday that the city has entered into a memorandum of agreement with National Grid, detailing more than 30 conditions and requirements valued at close to $3 million prior to the company commencing a major transmission cable replacement project in the City this November.
The MOA is in addition to whatever determinations are imposed by the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board, which is currently considering National Grid’s permit application for the project. It follows several months of negotiations between City officials and National Grid personnel
“Without question this project will entail varying levels of disruption to residents, businesses, and visitors,” Mayor Driscoll said in a release. “The plan of action agreed to by National Grid through this MOA and, we anticipate, through the EFSB’s eventual decision on this project, will help protect our City’s interests while also allowing this much needed project to advance in a responsible manner."
“National Grid understands the concerns that the residents of Salem have concerning this extremely important project that is essential in ensuring the continued reliable delivery of electricity to the City and the region,” Marcy Reed, president of National Grid in Massachusetts said in a prepared statement. “This collaborative effort with the City reflects the company’s ongoing efforts to better serve our customers and the communities where they live and work.”
The scope of detail in the agreement provides assurances and protections to the City, residents, and businesses on a wide range of issues, from traffic impacts, signage, and tree restoration, to repaving and sidewalk rehabilitation, enhanced public information commitments, and claims processes.
“Many of the conditions in this agreement were developed thanks to the input of businesses, residents, and City Councillors who represent areas along the proposed construction routes, as well as member of the City’s cable replacement stakeholders working group,” said Mayor Driscoll. “I want to give special thanks particularly to the diligent work done on this by City Solicitor Beth Rennard, City Engineer David Knowlton, and the BuildingSalem Coordinator Beth Debski. Finally I want to thank National Grid for their willingness to work with us on this unique agreement. I appreciate the strong working relationship we have with them and hope it establishes the groundwork for positive, open communication as this project advances.”
Summary of Primary MOA Conditions
1. Funding of City’s own engineering consultant to be on site during most work.
2. Dedicated project website, in English and Spanish.
3. Dedicated project hotline, in English and Spanish.
4. City input into construction scheduling.
5. National Grid attendance at working group meetings.
6. National Grid project manager available at all times.
7. Clearly defined claims process.
8. Availability of pre-construction surveys for abutters.
9. Curb to curb repaving and re-striping of roadways.
10. Reconstruction and enhancement, where necessary, of impacted sidewalks.
11. National Grid payment to City to conduct further repaving on other roadways.
12. At least 48 hours advanced signage and 5 days advanced mailing to abutters for any no parking areas.
13. Traffic Management Plan developed and approved by Salem public safety officials, and shared on project website.
14. National Grid funds update of 2010 tree survey along the proposed route.
15. Caliper inch-for-caliper inch replacement of any removed trees, with any excess trees or tree funds being dedicated to landscape improvements at the Peabody Street sub-station.
16. Assistance in modifications or improvements to the City’s major drain siphon at Webb and Derby Street.
17. National Grid to clean and inspect all sewer and drain crossings on the route and, if damaged by National Grid, will pay for their repair.
18. National Grid repayment to City for any expenses incurred to relocate City infrastructure.
19. National Grid will pay to repair any gravity services that fail within six months after the project.
20. National Grid to pay $15 per day per parking meter space closed due to construction.
21. National Grid to ensure customer access to businesses on the construction route and to allocate $5,000 for professional signage.
22. Sign with the project website and hotline at all construction sites.
23. Construction sites to be left in broom-swept condition, dust control measures required, and plowing if necessary.
24. All necessary rodent controls per the City’s Health Agent.
25. $15,000 for Destination Salem for costs associated with additional communications and coordination due to the construction.
26. Construction hours limit to 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays, unless otherwise approved or required by the City. No “pre-work” noise, such as starting construction vehicles, before 7:00 a.m.
27. Longer term construction staging on public property requires City approval in advance.
28. Unused equipment and materials to be removed from the work site each evening.