Public Works Updates: Main St, Paving, Guardrails, Rec fields, Town road projects, sidewalks, and more

Above: Approvals needed for fixes at the freight train crossing downtown are also holding up another project in town. That’s one of many updates from the DPW last week. (image from Google Maps)

An update by the Public Works one week ago covered a whole lot of ground. DPW Superintendent Karen Galligan briefed selectmen on numerous road, field, and water projects. She also informed them of grant initiatives she’ll be pursuing. And she warned them about potential complaints. Here are highlights.

State projects – “Main Street Reconstruction” and Route 9

MassDOT is in the driver’s seat of the TIP project* at this point. But there’s finally news on progress. The initial bid stage was completed. DH Perkins won and the state has assigned a “resident engineer”. Galligan expects the state to schedule a pre-construction meeting this winter with Town chiefs. She plans to give monthly updates for the public once the project starts moving.

She confirmed that the work being done across from Sears Road is the utility moving the Gas Main further east and in conjunction with the TIP project.

The state is also responsible for the construction work on Route 9. Initial work is almost complete with all curbing and the binder on the sidewalks to be finished this fall. Final top coats won’t be done until next year with work to be done by end of summer.

Town projects – “Main Street”, Deerfoot/Flagg Road, Cordaville Road, and sidewalks

The Town is planning roadwork to extend beyond the boundaries of the “TIP project”. As I explained in June, the project will be mainly focused on the downtown Main Street area between Park Street and Boston Road.

To combine bids for savings, Galligan is putting the Deerfoot and Flagg Road intersection project on hold.

Right now, the Main St portion is held up by approvals needed by CSX for its freight train crossing downtown. To deal with area stormwater issues, Galligan wants to install a new system that includes drainage pipes under the tracks. She also wants to lay the water main and gas line underneath and improve the crossing in the roadway and for pedestrians. 

The DPW chief hopes to tap into a federal grant for the crossing. She also hopes to make use of state offered “Complete Street” grants to fund related (and unrelated) sidewalk projects.

The state helps fund projects to make roads safer for walking and biking, with a potential of $400K per year. To apply, selectmen must adopt a policy for “infrastructure development practices”. Galligan will bring them a draft to approve in the next few months. 

Sidewalks related to the Town’s Main Street project would connect to Newton Street’s Southborough Medical Group. At the Route 85 ends of the Main Street Reconstruction, she hopes to extend sidewalks to the cemetery and St. Mark’s road.

Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf asked Galligan to come back to the board with a formal presentation on the downtown Main Street project to inform the public.

Galligan is already planning to hold another public meeting on the Cordaville Road project. It is another of the projects she hopes Complete Streets can help fund. That project has been on hold because of the number of other ongoing projects. Abutters had been invited to a September 2017 Public Works Planning Board meeting to learn more and ask questions. She plans to hold another meeting this winter. She’ll then be looking for public support for funding the project.

Another grant program, Safe Routes for Schools, helps with the last mile of connectivity for walking students. Galligan is looking into that for help with the recent work to fix the walking path from Deerfoot Road to Trottier and new sidewalks planned for Woodward School. 

Town road/lot paving and maintenance:

Extensive rain this year has thrown off project timelines for Town paving work that began this summer. 

Work was completed on the former underground tanks at the DPW fuel station, the Trottier parking lot (including the new speedhumps) and for Fayville Playground handicap parking and accessibility. But paving to build Fayville’s basketball courts this fall was “called off” to avoid damage to the drenched fields.

Four roads reclaimed were still being retopped as of Galligan’s update. That work was set to finish this week. The five roads making up the “Wedgewood neighborhood” will wait until spring. 

If you wondered about a trench across an access road to the Town House – it is allowing for a conduit to be laid for backup generator that will be moved from Fire Department to the Town House. That needed to be done before that parking lot is repaved in the spring. Woodward School’s parking paving was pushed to next summer.

Schipper Farm Lane wooden guardrail from Google MapsThe board was warned that they might be getting calls from unhappy residents in the Schipper Farm Lane area. A broken wood guardrail at the intersection on Fischer Road needs to be replaced with a “real” guardrail.

A longer metal rail is required to protect the “detention ponds”. A quick look at the corner with stone walls at the neighborhood entrance shows why some residents might be less than thrilled with the change. (See image right.)

Recreation track and field projects

Track and field work work approved at last spring’s Annual Town Meeting is still on hold. An RFP for Track work will go out this winter for work to be done next summer. The Town still needs to file Notice of Intent with the Conservation Commission for work at Depietri Field and work with MassDEP before proceeding with the Lundblad Field project.

Water projects

Galligans said that issues causing an excessive water bill for Breakneck Hill Community Garden were fixed. She explained that connected hoses caused a lot of leaking. Usage is back to normal. The board still needed to decide whether or not to have the Town take over the water bill. 

Ashland is continuing its work to upgrade systems for pulling water from Southborough’s reservoirs. Work will be done in Southborough next spring or fall (not during the high usage summer months).

*If you are unfamiliar with the TIP project, it is the extensive Main Street Reconstruction project in partnership with MassDOT as part of its Transportation Improvement Project queue.

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5 years ago

Frustratingly, we are the owners of the property on the corner of Fisher Rd & Schipper Farm Ln and had heard nothing from the town about converting this to metal guardrail, even though I had followed up with them several times about repairing the broken wooden guardrail. The only reason the wooden guardrail is broken is due to the fact that the town plows snow against it and got over-zealous with it last winter.

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