Milford road work delays concern former DPW head
Thursday, October 17, 2013
MILFORD – The town’s retired Department of Public Works director quizzed officials recently about two major road projects that he said are just dragging out.
During the Milford Selectmen’s Fifth Monday public forum held Sept. 30, Bob Courage asked about South Street and the Emerson Road/Route 13 intersection, both of which are slated for improvements.
The town started putting money away in 2006 for South Street and approved appropriations over several years to match a federal grant, he said.
“I mentioned it at the past three Town Meetings,” he said, “and the answer is always ‘This year.’ It’s just dragging out. The street is getting worse each year.”
The project involves putting utility wires underground and building new curbs and sidewalks.
The project is subject to lengthy reviews from the state Department of Transportation, and Bill Parker, the town’s Community Development director, said the most recent delay was primarily caused by the state’s need to obtain final easements from property owners.
“If all goes well, it will start in the spring or summer of 2014,” Parker said. “It’s a very hard, complicated project.”
But Courage urged the town to “just fix the street” and forget about state aid and burying power lines.
The $1 million project, which includes Milford’s share of $200,000, extends between Union Square and the railroad tracks and includes putting utilities underground between Union Square and the Christian Science Church, new sidewalks on most of the length and a gradual widening of the west side of the street between the parking lot behind Cafe on the Oval to the church.
Selectman Mark Fougere agreed with Courage that if “there’s no green light by spring” the town should scale back the scope of the work.
Parker also said that after a significant delay at the state level the Emerson Road/Armory Road/Route 13 intersection project is now undergoing its final engineering design and work will begin next spring.
The $450,000 project – being paid for with an 80 percent federal matching grant – includes adding eastbound, westbound and southbound turning lanes, with left-turn-only signalization from Emerson and Armory roads.
Its purpose is to improve safety and traffic flow.
Courage, who retired as head of the Department of Public Works in 1997, did say that the paving at the railroad tracks on South Street is much improved.