Road work is on hold – for now

Department of Public Works Director Amy McHugh told the Select Board last week that construction projects around town will begin concluding as soon as early December, with the conclusion of others not arriving until March of 2023.

Both paving and water upgrades have concluded on the Pleasant, Village, Vine improvements project, McHugh said, and the remainder of the work consists only of painting signage and “punch list items.” The majority of the work on the railroad right-of-way crossing project, a pedestrian improvement project at Smith and Pleasant Streets, is complete, and crews finished the road work required by the project. Road work on West Shore Drive is set to conclude in early December, McHugh said.

She added that all water and sewer projects have been completed, and the outstanding gas projects — on Elm and Tedesco streets — are scheduled for completion in March and February, respectively.

“Most of the road projects in 2022 have been completed, resulting in fewer detours and more availability of police details in November,” McHugh said.

Milling is complete on fall paving work, she said, and all pacing should be complete by early December.

“Following the pavement management plan that was presented to Town Meeting. We took the lower-rated streets, which had utilities that met the requirements for paving and … were located in close proximity to each other and we picked those for fall paving. The reason we did that is the high probability of cost savings.”

“We are at the end of our three-year paving contract and the next paving contract bids are going to reflect many of the inflationary costs that we’re all experiencing: labor, fuel, trucking, and material,” she continued.

Paving work is set for Broughton Road, Countryside Lane, Leo Road, Thompson Road, Elizabeth Road, Ida Road, part of Humphrey Street, and part of Tedesco Street.

“It’s going to address the lower grading roads and also some of the roads that we have a lot of temporary trenches,” McHugh said.

While a lot of work has been completed, McHugh said, other work looms in the future as the town continues to overhaul the condition of its roads, responding to resident feedback.

“We are reviewing pavement and sidewalk reviews, we have a tree inventory, a water and stormwater Capital Improvement Plans. All these will be reviewed and we’ll review what work has been completed in the past years and build on that progress. We’ll also be looking for grant opportunities to maximize any state and federal funding that’s available. The desired result of all this work is to choose a paving project that will give the town the maximum benefit of dollars spent,” McHugh said.

“The goals are not a new concept for Marblehead. We’ve been working toward a goal of keeping cutting into a newly paved street to a minimum,” she added.

Town Administrator Thatcher Kezer said “​​the big takeaway is there’s been a lot of work done. There’s a lot of work to be done.”

“Amy has … reached out to the utilities and basically grabbed them by the collars and pulled them into the table and said we need to share information on what your plans are so we can coordinate our schedules. So hopefully it allows us to achieve the goal of doing significant improvements to our infrastructure but also taking into account the impact of doing so but doing it in a much more coordinated fashion so it has less impact during the process,” Kezer said. “The end result will be better roads, better sidewalks, and hopefully a longer lifecycle because we’re doing the improvements in the right sequence.”