There are two public hearings scheduled for this week. The first at the Planning Board on Monday night will be about the undergrounding of utility wires along Main Street. The second on Wednesday night at the Senior Center will cover the overall Main Street reconstruction project.
The Main Street Council — a private group of residents, business owners, school officials, and developers — wants to underground the utility lines along Main Street. They want the work to happen while the street is torn up during the larger reconstruction project. But while the state will pay for the reconstruction work, they won’t pay to bury the utility lines, so the town would have to raise those funds separately.
A vote on whether to bury the utility lines along Main Street will not come up at the April Town Meeting, but an article that lays the groundwork for it will. The article would force the utility companies to comply with the town’s directive to bury the utility lines should it decide to go that route. If that seems like putting the horse before the cart, consider that the article also allows the utility companies to apply a surcharge of not more than 2% to utility bills to help fund the work.
More information about the warrant article will be shared at the Planning Board meeting on Monday night (7:15 pm at the Town House Hearing Room). It’s a public forum, so you’re encouraged to attend. For more background, read this letter to residents from the Main Street Council and this FAQ.
Main Street reconstruction
Undergrounding is just a piece of the overall Main Street puzzle. The main project calls for completely redoing a large portion of Main Street from Sears Road to Park Street, and would including improving sidewalks, paving and drainage, and revamping the intersection at Routes 30 and 85. Planning on the project has been going on for many years now, but it recently hit a snag.
Back in June, the town submitted preliminary plans — referred to as 25% plans — to MassHighway, but the plans were rejected. Apparently MassHighway felt some aspects of the design did not meet their safety standards. So it’s back to the drawing board for the town.
A public meeting on Wednesday night will update residents on the status of the project and solicit input on new design directions. The meeting starts at 7:00 pm at Cordaville Hall (Senior Center, 9 Cordaville Road).