Friday, August 24, 2007
Pathways project gathers steam
"If we stay focused and meet the deadlines over the next weeks, it's going to be a terrific project," said Chair Deb Belanger at the Pedestrian and Bike Safety Advisory Committee meeting on August 20. The town signed a contract in July with Allied Paving Corporation to create paved pathways along East Street, Lowell Street, Concord Street and to resurface the existing Bedford Road path, but before construction gets underway, the committee must gather needed approvals from the Historical Commission, Planning Board, Conservation Commission and the Board of Selectmen. The group hopes to complete the process in time for construction to begin in early October.
All pathways are to be surfaced with asphalt topped with chipped stone. Because the materials cannot be applied in cold weather, it is expected that no more than two pathways, probably Bedford Road and East Street, will be completed in the fall. The committee hopes to build the remaining pathways in the spring.
The contract stipulates a price of $33 per square yard for resurfacing the Bedford Road path and $43.70 per square yard for construction of the other paths, for a total of $256,050. The committee will recommend that to ensure thorough oversight, any change orders be reviewed by Town Administrator Madonna McKenzie, Superintendent of Public Works Gary Davis and the advisory committee.
The paths will extend out from the Town Center approximately 0.6 miles along Bedford Road, 0.5 miles along Concord and East Streets and 0.4 miles along Lowell Street.
Path placement decided
The committee formally voted to recommend the following pathway alignments: The Concord Street path is to follow the east side of the road, extending from Church Street to end at a crosswalk at the intersection with Bingham Road. The Lowell Street pathway is to follow the west side of the road, extending from a sidewalk by the police station north to the Old Morse Road trail. The path is to follow the northern side of East Street.
Before taking their vote, committee member John Bakewell asked, "Did we do due diligence in considering both sides of the road?" He then explained why he thought the group had carefully considered alternatives, with the goals to avoid steep embankments, wetlands, multiple crosswalks, and to minimize the number of easements. Davis has reviewed each proposed path location for the project and Belanger said, "Gary has signed off on it."
According to Belanger, the town's Right of Way allows about eight to 12 feet on either side of the roads in which to locate a path, but occasionally it is desirable to move the pathway farther from the road, for instance, to avoid features such as trees, stone walls, or utility poles. Belanger said that attorney Jean Donnelly has volunteered to help with the easements.
Additional work includes coordinating with utility companies for any guy wires or poles that may need modification.
Meeting with town boards
The project is on the agenda for the August 28 Historical Commission meeting, and Belanger said the Planning Board is will consider it on September 10. The Pathway Committee will bring its recommendations to the Selectmen on September 11, and on September 27 ConsCom will weigh in on any work near wetlands.
In April, Town Meeting authorized spending up to $300,000 in Commmunity Preservation Act funds to complete the pathway project.
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