South Street project rolling

Plan to widen, beautify road is set to begin in the spring

MILFORD – The widen­ing and beautification of South Street might begin in the spring, said Lincoln Daley, the town’s commu­nity development direc­tor.

The project has been delayed several times, more recently last sum­mer when the town sent it out to bid and the only bid came at a price officials considered unreasonably high.

Calling it the "much maligned or much an­ticipated" project, Dailey told the town Budget Com­mittee recently that the rebidding process would start this week. Dailey said if everything goes as planned, the work would begin in early May and be complete in late summer or early fall.

Along with widening, the project involves mov­ing utilities underground and installing new side­walks and curbs.

Planning started about 10 years ago, and it has been delayed as town of­ficials dealt with numer­ous hurdles, including the acquisition of easements from public utilities and local property owners and the lengthy reviews required by the state De­partment of Transporta­tion.

The one bid the town received last year, during a period when contrac­tors were apparently very busy, was double the engi­neering consultant’s esti­mate of $700,000.

The area to be im­proved goes from Union Square south to the railroad right-of-way. It includes widening, mov­ing utilities underground from Union Square to the Christian Scientist Church, relocating over­head utility lines away from the curb from the church to the railroad and building new side­walks on both sides of the street.

The road, considered a major gateway to the town, is lined with sev­eral popular businesses and can be difficult to navigate. Town officials say the work will result in a safer, less congested and better looking road.

The project is consid­ered the continuation of Oval improvements that were initiated in the mid- 1990s by DO-IT (Down­town Ongoing Improve­ment Team), now called the Milford Improvement Team. Continuing the Oval’s traditional look, South Street’s lighting will be replaced with pe­riod fixtures.

The state and federal government are paying 80 percent and the town 20 percent of the cost.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.