Church Street sidewalk project in Arlington completed
By Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | November 29,2012
ARLINGTON — A $240,000 sidewalk project on one of the town’s main pedestrian streets was completed last week, ahead of the worst of the winter weather, according to Select Board Chairman Keith Squires.
The Church Street sidewalk project had been in the planning stages for about eight years before getting under way this July.
A renovated sidewalk was built from Route 313 to Church Street, to the south, and ending at Arlington Family Practice. A group of trees that were in front of the medical practice was preserved but moved back to make room for the sidewalk.
New sidewalk was built along Route 7A in the same area and curbing was added to Church Street, the site of the St. James Episcopal Church, to enhance the safety of pedestrians. Because of the proximity of the church, medical office, homes and the town offices, many people walk to and from the areas that are both near and part of the project but in the past, there hasn’t been a clear walkway to use off Route 7A, which can be especially difficult when snow is piled up on the side of the road.
The goal of the project was to improve the access for pedestrians.
“The sidewalk project included replacing the existing sidewalk that was there, bringing it up to standards, extending it across all the way down to Russell Street from (Route) 313 and at the same time the town took on the project of rebuilding the road (Church Street) itself,” he said.
The road was improved with paving, grading and better drainage.
Squires said while some of the landscaping will have to wait until the spring season, the work on the project is mostly complete.
According to Squires, the construction schedule had to be extended, primarily due to the weather, but the project is expected to be finished slightly under the projected cost. The $240,000 budget included preparatory work like scoping and design work.
One of the challenges faced in the project was saving the trees in front of the medical practice while building the new sidewalk. Squires said the sidewalk had to be in a specific location to meet all the required codes but the trees had sentimental value to the community.
“The trees were all planted in memory of different people over the years and they wanted to retain the trees so that was the reason the decision was made to move them and not replace them which was a pretty good little project just in itself, moving those trees,” Squires said.
The work was done by Herrmann Construction, of Manchester. Squires said he was pleased not only because he was happy with the results but also because hiring a local contractor meant that some of the people who worked on the project were Arlington residents.
“That makes it kinda nice. The masonry work was done by two local guys from right here in town. That always works good and kinda makes you feel good to have some local people doing a federally funded project,” he said.
The federal government provided 80 percent of the project’s funding.
The contractor was also willing to work with the town to accommodate special events in town during the project like Norman’s Attic, a town-wide festival