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VA building project continues, changes to South Road garage coming soon

By Michael Cohen

UMass Medical School Communications

March 30, 2020

The old radio tower was the first structure to fall. The demolition team wedge-cut two of the tower’s steel supports and dropped it like a tree.

Then the former Massachusetts Department of Transportation (DOT) District 3 office in Worcester was demolished, bite by bite from the hydraulic maw of an excavator, to make way for the new medical building that will house the VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System’s new community-based outpatient clinic (CBOC) at UMass Medical School.

“Even in these challenging times, we believe this is an important project that can proceed safely,” said John Baker, associate vice chancellor of facilities management at UMMS. “We monitor the situation daily, consulting with the contractor and state officials. At this time, we are moving ahead on schedule.”

That schedule means changes are coming to the South Road parking garage beginning the week of April 6. Drivers and pedestrians should be mindful of the temporary directional signage that will be in place.

The garage will be expanded and modified to accommodate the new building. The first phase of that work will be construction of a temporary access road leading to the southeast entrance of the garage (closest to Lake Avenue). That access will remain open for several months, then close permanently when expansion of the garage begins.

Later in April, work will begin on the west entrance of the garage (closest to Plantation Street). Currently that access road is one-way leading to the entrance of the garage. The road will be widened and feature two lanes entering and two lanes exiting the garage. A left turn lane will flow off the widened access road for valet parking or patient drop-off in front of the Ambulatory Care Center (ACC). The widening of the road will occur in phases to maintain access to the garage and the ACC.

After the new west entrance road is widened and two-way access to the garage is completed, the current garage exit will change. That area will change from three exit lanes to one entrance lane and two exit lanes. Also during this time, the southeast entrance to the garage will close permanently. Access to the loading dock for the ACC will be rerouted to Belmont Street via the existing driveway formerly used by the DOT building.

For more information on the project, visit: www.umassmed.edu/va