Mattapoisett road reconstruction plan seeks public input

By Andrea Ray | Jun 29, 2017
Photo by: Andrea Ray VHP Engineering Project Manager Jamie Pisano explains the schedule for Mattapoisett Village's road reconstruction plan.

Mattapoisett — Mattapoisett officials are ready to resurface and reconstruct a significant portion of roads in Mattapoisett Village - but it will be another four years before actual construction can begin.

The roads in question are Main Street, Water Street, Beacon Street and Marion Road. Mattapoisett Town Administrator Michael Gagne explained that the project had been submitted to the state several years ago in the hopes of winning a Transportation Improvement Plan grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. According to Gagne, the road reconstruction plan has been slated for funding in 2020.

"The construction costs will be $3-5 million, or possibly even more," Gagne explained. "We could pay ourselves, but state money means we have more of our own money to invest in other projects."

He explained that the roads in question couldn't simply be repaved. "There is drainage work that needs to be done," he explained. "Under current stormwater management, we have to design systems to purify water before it is discharged into Mattapoisett Harbor, so for a good portion of local repaving jobs on Barstow and Cannon, we need to do the discharge work."

With notice of funding in a few years, officials have decided that now is the best time to involve the public in the potential plans. "We're in the very beginning stages of this project," explained Geoffrey Morrison-Logan, the New England Director of Regional Planning for VHB Engineering, who have been tapped to work on the reconstruction project. "We really want to spend the next few months with the community, getting your input on what you would like to see."

Plans from the engineering firm cover the project's calendar from 2017 to 2021. Year One (2017-18) is a year of conceptual design. 10 percent of the design plan is submitted to the board of selectman for approval at the end; this is the year that encourages the most public input.

The second and third years deal with finishing up design work and getting permits; the fourth year, 2021, is slated for actual construction.

Many residents in attendance expressed concern over the road changing the nature of the town, and making it easier for careless drivers to speed.

"We are looking intensely at that," said Gagne. "We don't want a situation where speed is suddenly at an unacceptable level."

Other residents inquired if receiving money from the state would mean ceding control to state requirements. VHP Engineering Project Manager Jamie Pisano said that wouldn't be the case. "If you don't necessarily want sidewalks on both sides of the street, the state may be willing to accede to that. There will be a lot of give and take."

One resident asked what might happen if the money for funding dried up before the proposed 2021 construction date.

"There's always a changing dynamic with time and money, and whether it's available," said Gagne. "Funding may be an issue, but one thing I have found is that towns who manage to do this successfully always have 25 percent design approval. Luckily, we have a nice amount of time to really work on this and get it correct."

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