Many road projects planned by the Town of Watertown focus on major roads and intersections, but the Department of Public Works recently began an effort to find places to make small scale changes on neighborhood streets. The improvements are not just for motor vehicles, but also for walkers, bikers and riders of public transportation, said Phil Goff, senior planning associate with Alta Planning + Design, the firm hired by the town to create a list of projects. Accommodating all these forms of transportation is part of the Town’s Complete Streets Policy. In February Town officials signed a Commonwealth Compact with the state and creating the policy was the first step toward the Town being able to apply for up to $400,000 in state funding for the projects. The second step, or tier, is creating the Complete Streets Prioritization Plan.
Watertown residents will see some changes to their trash, recycling and yard waste pick up starting in early December, with most people seeing small changes but some will have a whole new day of the week to put out their trash and recycling. The changes will begin the week of Dec. 11, and come as a result of the Town starting a new trash and recycling contract. The biggest chance with the new system will be five trash pick up days each week instead of four. The Department of Public Works and the trash/recycling pick up contractor Republic Services unveiled the new system for the Town Council this week.
Trucks carrying pre-cast concrete pieces bound for the Arsenal on the Charles for Athenahealth’s new garage will be spread out among five different routes in town after residents complained they were using a scenic roadway along the Charles River. Two weeks ago, when large trucks began rolling down Charles River Road, neighbors let the company and the Department of Public Works know they were not happy. On Saturday, Public Works Superintendent Gerry Mee told the Town Council that after testing different routes, the trucks will use other routes, but some will still be using Charles River Road. During the project, which is expected to go until Labor Day, nearly 1,000 truckloads will be delivered to the Arsenal on the Charles, according to a memo from general contractor C.E. Floyd Co. to the DPW.
Spring is here, which means the start of construction season for road projects. The Department of Public Work has a long list of projects they are working on, and projects they have coming down the road. See if your street or ones in your neighborhood made the list:
2017 Water Main Replacements
The Town’s annual water system improvement program seeks to replace undersized or inadequate water mains to improve water quality, fire flows, water pressure and volume. The following streets are included in this year’s program:
Katherine Road (Church Street to Common Street)
Hazel Street (Quimby Street to Dexter Ave.)
Westland Road, Woodleigh Road, and Edgecliff Road (Hillside Ave. to Woodleigh Road)
If you have styrofoam piling up after all your gifts have been opened, the Public Works Department will offer a chance to recycle it – and also shred paper and dispose of old tires. The Recycling event will be held Saturday, Jan. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Watertown Recycling Center (on Green River Way off Waltham). Bring your styrofoam cups, peanuts and takeout containers to the event. You can also have your sensitive documents shredded while you watch.
The Watertown Department of Public Works announced it will hold an informational meeting to discuss the conceptual plans for Mount Auburn Street, focusing on the section between Patten Street (near Watertown Square) and School Street. The meeting will provide an update on the project timeline, design, and funding process through the Massachusetts Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The meeting will be held on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. at the Watertown Free Public Library, 123 Main St., in the Watertown Savings Bank Room. During the meeting, we will also provide additional details about the current conceptual design between Patten Street and School Street.
Several streets made the list for road repairs in 2017 presented by Department of Public Works officials and approved by the Town Council’s Public Works Committee. Each year, the town tackles road repairs on multiple streets around town. Watertown devotes $2.5 million to road and sidewalk repairs annually, but the money does not go just to the worst roads. Some on the list are among the most dire need of repair, others can avoid major problems down the line by doing some minor repairs now, said Rick Benevento, president of WorldTech, the town’s consultant for road projects. The DPW uses a pavement management system developed by WorldTech to come up with the list.
The Department of Public Works building and Hosmer Elementary School will have new installations that drain rainwater into the ground, rather than the town’s storm drains, and will serve as demonstration projects for what can be done around town. The search started with 22 potential sites for the demonstration projects, but that was cut down to 18 viable sites on property owned or controlled by the town. The Watertown Stormwater Advisory Committee met in September to pick two locations for the project. The group wanted to spots that would drain a significant area, be visible to the public and be located in different parts of town. The last criterium was the one that led to the Hosmer School location being chosen. The top two choices were in the parking lot of the DPW facility, and a spot at the bottom of the hill beneath Lowell Elementary School.