LOWELL -- Wave goodbye to those bumpy rides on Merrimack Street.
On Sunday, workers removed the cobblestones from the downtown intersection at Merrimack and Central Streets.
Those “fake” cobblestones were added to the busy thoroughfare in the 1980s to make downtown look more historic, but it caused too many problems, said city Traffic Engineer Nicolas Bosonetto.
“Wheelchairs would get stuck in between the cobblestones, and people with canes and walkers would have trouble,” he said. “It was tough for people with baby strollers and people wearing high heels.”
The city will improve sidewalks and wheelchair ramps in the area.
This project will also result in better traffic flow, the city engineer said. The traffic lights in the area will be connected, so the lights will “all talk to each other,” Bosonetto said.
Parts of Merrimack and Central Streets will be repaved; Merrimack Street will be repaved from Kearney Square to Shattuck Street; Central Street will be repaved from Market Street to Merrimack Street.
The cobblestones on Shattuck, Middle and Palmer Streets will not be removed.
“Those are original and will be staying,” Bosonetto said.
Follow Rick Sobey on Twitter @rsobeyLSun.