The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pathways construction speeds ahead

Over 30 years after it was first suggested, the Town Center system of pathways is becoming a reality. The Pedestrian and Bike Safety Advisory (Pathways) Committee met on Monday, May 19, to discuss the status of ongoing construction and to plan ways to publicize the footpaths.

The committee is pleased with the great speed at which construction is progressing, and believes the project will finish within budget as anticipated. New paths being built from the center will extend about half a mile along Concord, Lowell and East Streets, and the existing Bedford Road pathway will be paved.

Volunteers save $13,500

This past weekend volunteers from the Trails Committee built a bridge at 225 Lowell Street at a cost of $1,000 for materials. According to Pathways Chair Deb Belanger, this saved the town $13,500 compared with the cost if a contractor had been hired to do the job. Local resident Claude von Roesgen helped streamline the single-span design and Trails Committee Chair Henry Cox pulled together experienced volunteers. Work still remains to be done on a ramp up to the footbridge. “Gary Davis and the DPW have been just outstanding” in their work for the pathways, said Belanger. The bridge is located on an easement provided by the Arnold family.

Lowell Street Pathway
Trails Committee volunteers built a bridge on the Lowell Street pathway last weekend. (Photo by Dave Ives)

Construction details

Only a few change orders with the contractor, Allied Paving of Chelmsford have been needed. One change was for a granite curb needed on Lowell Street, for $2,924. Another was to hire a pneumatic drill for stone blasting to remove an area of ledge at a cost of $3,200.

The project will also pay the police for detail work to direct traffic around construction. Belanger said that the amount of police assistance needed can only be estimated beforehand, and the project budgeted $10,000 which has been exceeded. She expects the total cost of police details at time-at-a-half to reach $25,000. She said that this amount can be handled within the project funding.

There have been concerns raised by others that the width of the path is greater than four feet in many areas. The committee explained that the trenched footing is as much as five or six feet wide to accommodate the base layer of crushed stone and gravel. The asphalt laid over the base will be four to five feet wide, with loam applied along the sides. They say the four-foot pathway width restriction in the town’s historic district will be met.

To improve safety, the committee plans to place signs at dangerous crossings, certain driveways and blind corners.

Schedule for completion

Construction of the path on East Street is scheduled to begin June 4. The pathways committee anticipates that all four roads will be mostly complete by June 10. At that point, there will be residual work for the DPW to finish, and then a topcoat of asphalt and the chip and seal surface will be applied. The committee anticipates sufficient funds to surface the entire path with a brown-pebbled layer of chip and seal. Application of the final surface may be finished before Old Home Day, with loam to be laid along the edges in the fall.

Delays in two sections

Some sections of the path will take longer to complete. On Bedford Road the segment across the land under conservation restriction held by the Carlisle Conservation Foundation (CCF) remains unfinished. According to Belanger, the next step is for the Selectmen to hold a public hearing with the CCF, and then the town must seek approval from the state legislature to modify the conservation restriction to allow the use of asphalt.

On Concord Street, the path has been laid up to the intersection of Concord and Church Streets. The town has judged this intersection a traffic safety concern, and the pathway will be completed along with road repairs.

Activities planned

The committee plans concluding events to mark the completion of this path system. They also plan to publish a pedestrian map of Carlisle in conjunction with the Trails Committee, with the help of Kevin Smith. In the second to last week of school they hope to run a “safe routes to school” day for elementary and middle school students to publicize accessibility of the new pathways. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito