Friday, August 25, 2006
Selectmen OK $30,000 for pathways
Jack Proust of the Pedestrian and Bike Safety Advisory Committee appeared before the Board of Selectmen on August 22 to give a status on pathways and to request release of some funds.
Currently Bedford Road needs some restoration and repair to the crushed stone surface. East Street is "ready to go" with engineering complete, but is awaiting a decision on the correct surface before getting the needed easements. Concord, Lowell and Westford Roads have received some survey work.
Because the existing pathways have become weedy and the BOH has banned the use of herbicides, the current proposal is to retain the Bedford surface and add crushed stone to improve it. The crushed stone surface would require $15,000 maintenance each year, which according to Deb Belanger, includes skimming off the surface to remove weeds and adding more stones. The current proposal is that new pathways would use a more expensive organic binder in the historical district and asphalt in the non-historical. This would entail a significant price increase as asphalt is 2.5 times as expensive as crushed stone, and the stabilizer is 3.5 times as expensive.
A new alternative, called Dirt-Glue is planned for testing. It appears to have all the advantages of a stabilizer with a cost only 1.2 times that of crushed stone. It eliminates dust and mud, and controls erosion, according to Belanger, and is safe to people and wildlife. It has been around for a number of years and there are several areas it can be viewed. She will provide locations in an e-mail to the Selectmen.
The selectmen unanimously approved funds to repair Bedford Rd. for $20,000, either with the stone surface, or if it tests well, the new DirtGlue or other surface. In addition a retaining wall on East Street will be rebuilt for $10,000. They also authorized the DPW to mow the Bedford path and fix a culvert at the St. Irene fire pond. Reserves of $70,000 left over from the $150,000 approved at Town Meeting several years ago and the $30,000 received from state Chapter 70 will be held pending a decision on surfaces for the new pathways.
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