Friday, April 22, 2005
South/West St. intersection to get makeover
One of the worst intersections in town is living on borrowed time, thanks to a redesign of the dangerous corner by engineer George Dimakarakos of Stamski and McNary. Dimakarakos, accompanied by Department of Public Works Superintendent Gary Davis, presented his plans to the Board of Selectmen at their April 19 meeting. The new design will eliminate the existing island and blast away ledge to improve sight lines at the disreputable juncture of the two scenic roads.
Dimakarakos proposes to add four feet of shoulder to the inside of the curve by removing existing ledge and building a retaining wall of cut granite. West Street will otherwise remain untouched, including the hump that prevents any appreciable sight line to the north. To alleviate the blind intersection, Dimakarakos will instead raise South Street as it approaches the intersection so that drivers can see over the hump and then join the two roads at a right angle. South Street traffic will be routed through the former traffic island and proceed to a stop sign where the two roads connect.
Abutters Sarah Williams and Tim Fohl of each side of South Street will each gain frontage from the redesign as both sides of South Street will be pulled in at the intersection. The trees shielding Williams's house at the turn will remain untouched, but the South Street grade change will affect her short driveway to an attached garage. Davis will make arrangements for adequate water runoff away from the driveway from the elevated road.
Selectmen looked askance at drawings of the cut granite retaining wall and predicted that there would be opposition to its "manufactured look." Dimakarakos could replace it with fieldstone or boulders, but the additional cost might be prohibitive. "We may find rock anyway when we blast — the best of both worlds," he said, since no retaining wall would be needed. From a safety standpoint, Davis informed the board that Police Chief Dave Galvin has visited the site and agrees with the plans.
Changing hats, Tree Warden Gary Davis said that one tree on the inside of the curve will need to be removed to improve sight lines. He foresees no opposition to removal of this tree, which sits in the town's right of way, but proper procedures must be followed since it is on a scenic road. The redesigned intersection will be approbved by both abutters (Williams and Fohl), the Planning Board and the Conservation Commission (adjacent wetland) before any work is begun.
The Board of Selectmen were generally satisfied with the road improvements and voted 4-0 to authorize the modifications, subject to final approval by the affected individuals and town boards.
© 2005 The