LRTA to award $2 million contract to build overpass
LOWELL — Visitors stepping off a commuter train will one day have a red carpet straight to dinner. On Thursday, the Lowell Regional Transit Authority (LRTA) Advisory Board will award the contract for a pedestrian walkway linking Gallagher Terminal to the future Thorndike Exchange. The $1.9 million job is going to GTC Construction Management, of Haverhill. The 140-foot, glass-enclosed walkway is expected to be complete by next September, LRTA Administrator James Scanlan said. “People using public transportation to come to Lowell wi11 be able to easily access the Thorndike Exchange,” Scanlan said. “The walkway will really complement the Exchange building.”
Businessman Sal Lupoli is remaking the old Comfort Furniture and Bedding building on Thorndike Street next to Gallagher Terminal. The project would bring 118 residential units, two restaurants, office space and several floors of commercial use. Beside the L-shaped mill building would stand a modern six-story building that would hold most of the residences. The projected cost for what will be called Thorndike Exchange is $30 million.
“The Exchange will bring more vibrancy to this whole area,” Scanlan said. “There will be more nighttime activities and opportunities here. We’re really excited for it.” Initially, the LRTA had a $1.1 million budget for the walkway, but that was $800,000 short of the lowest bid. As a result, the LRTA had discussions with MassDOT and the Federal Transit Administration, and the LRTA received additional funding to match the $1.9 million bid. “Sal made a strong case for the walkway, and Rep. (Dave) Nangle really helped this effort,” Scanlan said.
“We’re really happy this is able to move forward,” he added. “This will really make his (Sal’s) development better and the LRTA better as we go forward.” GTC Construction Management is already completing renovation work at Gallagher Terminal — a $2.2 million project to renovate the lobby. The building will have a new exterior facade, a new roof, and the lobby’s footprint will be extended about 8 to 10 feet. All the doorways will be replaced, as will the glass in the lobby. Also, there will be new concrete curbing out front.