Report: West Chatham Project Can Be Done In Two Construction Seasons

By: Tim Wood

Traffic in West Chatham.  FILE PHOTO

CHATHAM – With an accelerated construction schedule, the West Chatham Roadway Project can be completed in two construction seasons, according to a construction time determination study by project manager Howard Stein Hudson.

The timeline includes early relocation of utilities and a moratorium on work during the winter and assumes both multiple work zones and delaying the state's usual summer work moratorium until June 30.

On Monday, the Cape Cod Metropolitan Planning Organization is scheduled to take a final vote on the $4.2 million project, which involves removing the center turning lane between Barn Hill Road and George Ryder Road, building roundabouts at the two intersections and adding a 10-foot multi-use path along the corridor.

The schedule calls for work to begin in fall 2018 with relocation of utilities. No work would be done during the winter moratorium period from Dec. 15 to March 15. The report recommends that the usual Memorial Day to Labor Day moratorium imposed by the state on Cape Cod Projects be delayed and work continue until about June 30, “to coincide with the state of the typical vacation period.”

“Tourism and its associated traffic are most active during school vacation and it is assumed work during the week can still occur prior to school dismissal,” the report states.

Work would continue in fall 2019 and be completed by November 2020, according to the report. The work would be done in four phases: reconstruction of Main Street; construction of the George Ryder Road roundabout; construction of the Barn Hill Road roundabout; and final paving, landscaping and street light installation.

Plans call for keeping the corridor open to traffic during the construction period. The report recommends using “smart work zone technologies” using real-time traffic information via the internet and portable message signs to “inform the public and temper driver expectations.” A “robust public outreach effort” will be required in contract documents, it adds.

The schedule takes into account holidays and lost workdays due to weather, according to the report.

Thomas Currier, supervising project manager  for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Division, cautioned that the report is not a schedule.  "It is an internal MassDOT document created to demonstrate a probable construction time duration," he said in an email.

Monday's vote will pave the way for the project, which has been 100 percent designed, to move ahead. The report calls for the project to be advertised next March and the contract awarded by Aug. 14.

A number of West Chatham residents and businesses continue to oppose the project, which they say is not needed and will disrupt business. Some had cited a previous estimate that the project could take four or more seasons to complete.

Selectmen recently deadlocked on a vote of support for the project; the board had previously supported the work, even after a town meeting vote to stop the project was narrowly approved.

This story was updated at 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 17, to include new information and clarifications.