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Project Would Make Waverley Ave. Safer, But Cost May be Rising

Safety in the area of Waverley Avenue is one of the focuses of the reconstruction of Waverley Avenue, but the cost may be rising because of requirements the town must meet.

Public Works Superintendent Gerald Mee hopes to get started this year on a major overhaul of Waverley Avenue, but coordinating with utility companies and the costs may mean some delays.

The project, which also includes redesigning the intersection of Main Street with Waverley Avenue – which becomes Myrtle Street on the other side ­– and reconstructing Carroll Street, was presented to the Town Council’s Public Works Committee Tuesday night.

The roadway on Waverley will likely need to be completely ripped out and laid down, Mee said. Over the years, asphalt has been laid down on top of the old one, and now the sidewalk is at the same level of as the roadway in some parts.

Other steps will be taken to make the road safer for pedestrians, especially near Watertown Middle School, said James Fitzgerald of WorldTech Engineers of Woburn.

The construction will include “bump outs” from the sidewalk to shorten the crossing at crosswalks, Fitzgerald said. One would be installed at the crosswalk at the middle school and another at the bike path through Linear Park, closer to Main Street. The intersections will be marked with colored pavement so they stand out to drivers.

There will be raised tables at the intersections of Waverley and Summer Street and Waverley and Fayette, Fitzgerald said. The road would be raised about 6 inches to slow cars down.

In addition, two “You are Going …” signs that show driver’s speed will be installed on the approaches to the middle school, Fitzgerald said.

Bicycle Safety

Maria Saiz, a member of the Watertown Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, said the project presents an opportunity to make a major north-south route more bike friendly. The road connects the Charles River to the Belmont line.

Mee said road is not wide enough to have a bicycle lane and parking. Right now the parking on the east side of Waverley Avenue will remain.

“That is something the (Town) Council would have to decide,” Mee said.

Saiz said some fog lines could be put on the road as a makeshift bicycle lane, but Mee said he tried that during the renovation of Summer Street and he ran into trouble.

The Price Tag

The original price estimate for the Waverley Avenue reconstruction was $1.3 million, but Mee said it could rise.

“There are a number of problems that could escalate the cost substantially,” Mee said. “I would not be surprised if it cost $2.6 million.”

The town likely must install bigger storm drain pipes on part of Waverley, Mee said, in order to meet with new storm water requirements. Also, because the road is so thick – 10 inches in some places – the costlier full-depth reconstruction of the road must be done.

The project will be paid for with a combination of water funds, sewer funds and potentially some of the town’s Chapter 90 roadway management funds.

Other Sections

The Carroll Street and the Main Street intersection will be treated as different projects. Mee is hopeful some of the construction will start in the spring.

“I want to get Waverley and Carroll done this year,” Mee said. “I am not as confident about the intersection (of Main with Waverly/Myrtle).”

The Carroll Street project includes repaving, and would cost an estimated $800,000, Fitzgerald said.

New lights would be added to the intersection of Main Street with Waverley Avenue/Myrtle Street.

Myrtle will be widened and realigned so it lines up better with Waverley Street, Fitzgerald said. Traffic detectors will be added in all four directions, too.

The cost for the intersection is an estimated $750,000.

Mee said he worries that part of the project may have to wait until 2013 because the town must coordinate with National Grid.

“They are looking at corrosion control and they have pipes underground at Myrtle Street and Main Street,” Mee said.

Sonny Beaches February 23, 2012 at 03:49 PM
"Price estimate was $1.3 million...not surprised if it cost $2.6 million.” Damn Gerry, you do good work!

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