Driven To Distraction? Most Road Construction To End Shortly

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: Traffic , Roads, highways and transportation

A road resurfacing crew works on Chatham’s Main Street Monday morning. ALAN POLLOCK PHOTO

In the past week or two, it’s been hard to drive even short distances without encountering a detour sign, traffic cones or road construction crews. But take heart: town officials say much of the work will be done by Memorial Day.

It’s a fact of life on Cape Cod, Chatham Public Works Director Tom Temple said. Paving crews have to work in a narrow window of time between the onset of warm weather and Memorial Day weekend. When there is a particularly wet springtime, that window of opportunity is even narrower. Construction can resume at the end of the summer, but increasingly that means Columbus Day rather than Labor Day to keep work from disrupting the lucrative late-summer visitor shoulder season. And the jobs must be finished by the first or second week of December, when asphalt plants close for the season.

“That doesn’t give you much time on either end,” Temple said.

In Chatham, the resurfacing of Main Street between Crowell Road and Route 137 began with the milling of the pavement last week. On Monday, crews paved the westbound lane, and were expected to work on the eastbound side Tuesday. Pavement reflectors were expected to be installed Wednesday, with line striping planned for the pre-dawn hours Thursday, weather permitting. Ideally, the repaving job was expected to be complete by Friday.

The work aims to repair pavement patches that were necessitated by the installation of underground pipes, and is unrelated to the West Chatham roadway reconstruction. The contractor on that project has obtained special permission to allow work to continue through early June, but the work will not involve the two travel lanes. Paving work will continue on the north side of the road layout, where there will be a new shared-use path, but all other work will cease until after September, Temple said.

Cross Street in Chatham has been closed to traffic for the installation of a new water main, a job that should be complete by the end of this week, Temple said. Then, crews will pressure-test the main and begin installing water services to properties along the road. During that time, at least one lane of traffic should usually be open, though motorists should still avoid the area if they can during the eight to 10 days it takes for crews to complete the job.

Sidewalk installation in downtown Chatham is still underway, with new sidewalks on Main Street now in place between Lighthouse Beach and Chatham Bars Avenue. Some additional sidewalk work continues on Seaview Street, but it should be complete by Memorial Day, Temple said. Delayed by this spring’s wet weather, the job will resume in October.

In Harwich, gas main installation on Route 28 near Kildee Road will likely be done by Memorial Day, Harwich Public Works Director Linc Hooper said this week.

Additional gas work had forced the closure of Uncle Venie’s Road, but the street has since reopened. After the Memorial Day weekend, work will resume in this area, likely resulting in another road closure lasting around two weeks. The job will be required to be complete by the third week in June, Hooper said.

National Grid will also continue working on the installation of a new gas main along Depot Street in North Harwich through the summer, affecting traffic headed toward Slough Road in Brewster.

Work on water mains is expected to cause some detours on Lothrop Avenue for the remainder of this week and part of next week, but should be complete by June 1.

After Memorial Day, town highway crews will be performing limited road resurfacing, known as chip sealing, in several yet-to-be-identified residential neighborhoods in Harwich, Hooper said. The work will not involve major roads and will only affect local traffic, he said.

In Orleans, the majority of work in the downtown sewer project will be complete by the end of the week, Police Lt. Kevin Higgins said. There may be some additional construction after that time to accommodate utility work, “but most, if not all, of the sidewalk and the street construction will be done before Memorial Day,” he said.

Work continues on the repair of a large underground culvert that runs between Rock Harbor Road and Old County Road at Goose Hummock Marine. The culvert, the remains of a natural water course between Boat Meadow and Town Cove known as Jeremiah’s Gutter, is being rebuilt and re-lined to allow water to flow freely. Rock Harbor Road was closed as of early this week but was expected to reopen shortly. There were no traffic delays on Old County Road.

“It’s been a whirlwind of activity going on,” Higgins said.