August 28, 2019
By Ann Needle
Traffic stops and closed lanes aside, the good news from the Stow Planning Dept. is the latest phase of the Lower Village road project is on track to be officially completed by Nov. 15. According to Town Planner Jesse Steadman, the only tasks to be finished after mid-November should be small, “punch list” items, which should be done by Dec. 6.
But until then, drivers and pedestrians should brace themselves for a rocky road on Rt. 117 in the area around Shaw’s Plaza.
This week, Steadman said, “Much of the drainage that needed upgrading is being completed.” In its online project update, Planning explained that contractor E.T.&L. Corp. is installing gutter inlets and catch basins at the edge of the road.
“That work is relatively high impact to traffic, so we wanted to get it done before school starts,” Steadman said of the drainage. With most Nashoba Regional students returning to school on Thursday (Aug. 29), Steadman said the Planning Department alerted E.T.&L. Corp. as to the school bus schedules and routes.
In the first few weeks of September, the road will be milled, grinding down some of the high spots, and in the second week of September, the base course of pavement will be applied, Steadman said. He cautioned, “Residents can expect this to be a busy time, with traffic being shifted around to accommodate the paving equipment.”
to Asst. Town Planner Valerie Oorthuys, Eversource
tentatively committed to moving the underground gas line in early
September. Steadman told the Stow Board of Selectmen earlier this month
that Eversource was not responding to Town requests to move the line,
and therefore project managers have a back-up plan in place if the line
is not moved.
White Pond Entrance Re-Fashioned
The updated White Pond Road intersection with Route 117 has been roughed in with the improved curb radius, Steadman reported. “This intersection has been a balancing act between accommodating the current commercial [vehicles] that utilize White Pond Road and improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists, specifically since the Assabet River Rail Trail now begins and ends at White Pond Road,” Steadman said. “Our current engineer provided a design that best strikes that balance.”
Last year, the White Pond entrance was compacted from two down to one entrance, requiring traffic to enter and exit at the same opening. The Planning Board then fielded complaints that the entrance was too small for commercial vehicles to pass each other in opposite directions, and that the new curb radius was too sharp to make it safe for vehicles entering the road. However, surrounding residents complained that widening the curb again would encourage traffic to speed around that corner, something that was a problem before the project.
The Lower Village project was supposed to be completed last year, but was re-started this spring when problems were unearthed with the new underground drainage. At a continued Annual Town Meeting in June, residents approved an additional $1,886,000 to finish the project. Of that amount, the Town of Stow borrowed $1 million, took another $436,00 from the Town stabilization fund, and the final $450,000 from free cash.
The Planning Board posts project updates periodically on its web page at www.stow-ma.gov.