Main Street Update: Some paving starting this fall; explaining bigger stone walls

Above: The Main Street Reconstruction project includes converting the low-lying stone walls at the main intersection into “roadway retaining walls”. (fall 2018 from Google Maps, 2019 by Cassie Melo)

It’s time for a transportation update on a project that impacts far more commuters and residents than those that take the train – Main Street Reconstruction.

There is a new schedule for the project. The initial schedule had new pavement waiting until 2020. The indication was drainage work would be completed first, then curbing would be installed, then they would move on to replacing the pavement next year. That strategy was revised.

The Town announced yesterday:

The Main Street Project Schedule has Changed

1. The remainder of this construction season (Fall 2019):

  • Work on the drainage system and water main replacement will continue this fall on the WEST side of Route 85.*
  • Road reconstruction will begin on the WEST side of Route 85 this fall. Reconstruction work includes removing the existing pavement and road base and replacing it will good gravel and and a first course of pavement. The first course of pavement will be installed before winter on the WEST side of Route 85.*
  • Drainage and water structures will be brought to the pavement surface before winter.

2. Next construction season (Spring, Summer, Fall 2020)

  • Water main and drainage work will begin on the EAST side of Route 85 and on Route 85.*
  • Road reconstruction WEST of Route 85 will be performed.
  • Curbing and sidewalks will be installed throughout the project.
  • Final paving and pavement markings will be installed throughout the project.

The news is a good excuse to finally share a related item I hadn’t gotten around to yet.

Earlier this summer, I asked Public Works Superintendent Karen Galligan about the stone walls at the properties by the intersection of Routes 85 and Route 30. I was surprised to see  walls being reconstructed at the Community House that appeared much taller than my recollection of the originals. Galligan’s response also sheds light on the new tall wall across the street:

The wall is taller than the original wall because of the fall hazard, so that’s why there would be more stones. Also, if you look at the original wall, there weren’t large stones on the bottom, and there wasn’t concrete behind it, so the wall is being built to the specifications for a roadway retaining wall.

Here are some before and after pictures. (Before are fall 2018 from Google Maps. After are August and September 2019 by Cassie Melo.)

These views are from Main Street, moving east towards and past the intersection with Route 85, looking at the south side of the street.

Before: fall 2018 - approaching intersection After: August 2019 - approaching intersection August 2019 - close up of wall

Before: fall 2018 - Corner of Rte 30 eastbound and 85 southboround After: September 2019 - Corner of Rte 30 eastbound and 85 southbound September 2019 - closer look at the corner

Before: Fall 2018 - Community House wall After: September 2019 - Community House wall

*In case you are confused, Route 85 is a north-south route. So the construction referred to as “WEST side of Route 85”, means the section of Main Street/Route 30 that is west of the intersection with 85. The project extends down to Sears Road. The EAST side is from the other side of the intersection to Park Street. 

There are also plans for the Town to do work on Main Street past Park Street. But that is a separate project and no timeline has been publicly announced yet. (The Reconstruction project is conducted by the Mass Department of Transportation.)

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