I hadn't driven on Mount Pleasant Street in New Bedford's North End in a while and was mighty surprised to learn that a portion of the street is no longer there. I mean, as in it no longer exists.

A section of Mount Pleasant Street from the northern end of the Dunkin' parking lot south to Nauset Street has been filled in with dirt. It's literally the end of the road for those driving south from the Nash Road area.

Drivers heading north on Mount Pleasant must either turn right onto Nauset Street or turn left on a newly redone section of Nauset to a recently installed set of traffic lights. At the lights, motorists can turn left onto Hathaway Road toward Price Rite or right on Hathaway and rejoin Mount Pleasant at Dunkin'.

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The project has apparently been in the planning stages for a while based on the artist's rendition. The more observant among us might notice the rendering was done when the former Building 19 was still standing.

The intersections of Nauset Street and Mount Pleasant and Nauset and Hathway Road have been a traffic nightmare for years. This should help. KR Rezendes, Inc., the Assonet contractor hired by the state to perform the $4.5 million road reconstruction project, has forecast a completion date sometime in November of this year.

The New Bedford Department of Public Infrastructure and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation believe that the project will make the traffic flow in the area much safer, especially where Nauset Street meets Hathaway Road.

In addition, the project allows for the expansion of the Franco-American War Memorial Park, which includes a Pershing tank. A Standard-Times piece from July of last year, however, indicated some veterans were not happy with how the changes were made.

Maneuvering the new traffic patterns will take some getting used to. I'm sure when the ribbon is cut to christen the newly-expanded Franco-American War Memorial Park, all will be forgiven, and the veterans will enjoy their new space.

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