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Bellingham Road Projects Getting Underway

Jun 30, 2017 06:00AM ● Published by Pamela Johnson

DPW Director Don DiMartino (left) with Town Administrator Denis Fraine

written by KEN HAMWEY, Bulletin Staff Writer

Summer is here and that’s a definite signal that roadwork in Bellingham is in high gear in some areas or about to get underway very soon in others.  Streets and roadways in line for upgrades or makeovers include Hixon Street, Center Street, Maple Street, Pearl Street, Cross Street, Wrentham Road, and the Lake Street/Pulaski Boulevard intersection.

Bellingham’s road construction going forward will be funded from a $5 million, 5-year road bond passed at last October’s Special Town Meeting and also from Chapter 90 state money, which was $540,000 for Bellingham.

“Some streets will undergo different procedures than others,” said Don DiMartino, who’s been Bellingham’s Department of Public Works Director for 23 years. “Some roads will have small sections repaired and others will involve major work. We’re also striving to improve several of the town’s intersections.”

Here’s a capsule look at some of the town’s roads and intersections that will be undergoing a facelift for the summer and fall seasons:
  • Maple Street is a roadway that many residents are eager to see fixed. The project, which is underway, will cost $816,000 and will include work that will begin at Pine Street and proceed south to the Rte. 495 overpass. “What’s on tap are roadside drainage improvements, minor widening and road-surface repair,” DiMartino (pictured right) said. “What slowed the project were the needed filings (environmental and scenic road filings) and right of way/easement acquisitions.”
  • Pearl Street, where the dam has been removed and the mill no longer exists, is primarily a drainage project. The work, which will start at the bridge and continue to the Franklin line, will enhance the quality of storm-water runoff to the Charles River.
  • Water-main and roadway improvements are on tap for Cross Street. The work will improve sight distance on Cross Street by lowering the crest of a hill on the roadway between Blackmar and Lake Street.
  • Wrentham Road (from Lake Street to the Wrentham line) is on tap for a new water main, but that project may be more likely to get underway in the fall.
  • The Lake Street/Pulaski Boulevard intersection (at Bellingham Lumber) will be getting traffic lights.
  • The Pulaski Boulevard/Center Street intersection traffic lights will be revamped. The sensing system will be replaced with an eye toward improving the timing of the signals to prevent traffic backing up on Pulaski Boulevard.
  • Projects in the planning stage for construction in 2018 or beyond include the following:
  • The intersection of Mechanic Street with South Maple Street and Maple Street on the north side will be widened and turn lanes will be added. The traffic lights there will be revamped to improve the timing of the signals. This project could be a year away because state approval will be required.
  • Reconstruction of South Main Street will be a major project. According to DiMartino, surveying has been ongoing to determine the existing conditions. What’s planned is complete reconstruction for the north and south sections, and roadway widening for the north and middle sections.
  • Third Avenue and Middle Avenue will eventually undergo drainage improvements.
  • Daytime detours will be implemented while work is ongoing at Pearl Street, Cross Street and Wrentham Road. Message boards and robo calls will be used to inform motorists of the construction. All work will be completed by contractors who submit bids and are pre-qualified by the Mass. Department of Transportation.
The DPW, which deals with potholes and patching repairs year-round, is the linchpin, or the starting point, for local road projects. “The DPW presents a list of streets that need work to the road committee,” said Town Administrator Denis Fraine. “The committee then meets about six times a year to prioritize projects, and they usually start meeting in late fall.”

The committee includes DiMartino, Fraine, Chris Laviolette (Chief Financial Officer), Jim Kupfer (Town Planner), Bob Donahue (DPW Project Manager), Roland Lavallee (Capital Improvement Committee), Joe Collamatti (Finance Committee) and two members of the Board of Selectmen.
“This year, the road projects we will be constructing are a mixed bag of improvements, covering road surface, safety, water systems, and storm-drain improvements,” DiMartino said.
County+State, Business, Municipal, Life+Leisure Bellingham center North Bellingham South Bellingham Bellngham Bulletin

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