Traveling Old Queen Anne Road and Route 137 over the next few months will take a bit of planning as sewer work moves into one of the area's busiest intersections.
Sewer installation has pretty much closed down both the Chatham and Harwich sides of Route 137 for the past several weeks—or longer—but the advancement of the work into the intersection promises even more complications, detours and the need to plan your route beforehand.
As of this week, the sewer construction schedule called for the intersection to be closed beginning the week of Feb. 10. Crews will be continuing the installation of gravity sewers that's been happening on the Chatham side of Route 137 for the past several weeks; the mains connect to sewers on Harwich's side of the road. This will allow wastewater from East Harwich to flow to the Chatham treatment plant off Sam Ryder Road, part of an intermunicipal agreement signed by the two towns two years ago.
Traffic traveling westbound on Old Queen Anne Road will be detoured down Church Street. East-bound traffic on Old Queen Anne Road will be detoured onto Cemetery Road, across Route 137 to Church Street and back to Old Queen Anne Road (see illustration).
Route 137 will remain closed to through traffic between Route 28 in Chatham and Route 39 in Harwich. Work is still being done on the Harwich section near Stop and Shop. Local traffic will be allowed from Route 28 up to the intersection, but through traffic from Route 28 will have to follow a detour along Sam Ryder Road to Old Queen Anne Road and Church Street.
“People are doing that now anyway,” said Robert Duncanson, Chatham's natural resources department director.
The closure of the intersection is not good news for the Corner Store, which has seen a dramatic drop in its business due to the sewer work in the immediate area. While some customers have found their way to the store, there are times when even the owners don't know how they'll access their parking lot, said co-owner Steve DeLeonardis.
“We don't even know how to staff. It's kind of erratic,” added co-owner Jim Danelski.
After the intersection work is completed, crews will briefly work on Old Queen Anne Road to the east before switching to the west side of the intersection. Old Queen Anne Road will be closed between Cemetery Road and Route 137.
The sewer work west of the Route 137-Old Queen Anne Road intersection is expect to last through the spring, Duncanson said. Work hours are being extended from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. to expedite the project.
Chatham and Harwich police and other town officials have been meeting regularly to coordinate the upcoming work and detours, according to Duncanson. Having the same contractor, Robert B. Our Company, doing the majority of the work in the two towns has helped, he said. A second contractor, RJV Construction, began work this week on the Cemetery Road area so that street would be available to use as a detour.
“We need all of Cemetery to be open for the detour,” he said.
The Corner Store will be accessible through the construction period, Duncanson said, although the means of access may differ depending on where work is being done. While the intersection is closed, customers can travel from Route 28 to the burrito eatery and park behind the restaurant. It will also be accessible on Old Queen Anne Road from the west.
DeLeonardis and Danelski plan to use social media to let their customers know they remain open, but hope the town can help with signage and daily information about road closures. Not knowing day-to-day how the sewer work will impact the business has made this the toughest winter in the business' 15-year history, DeLeonardis said. “This has been rough,” he said. They've met with the chamber of commerce and the contractor to try to keep communications open and keep customers informed.
Sewer work will also be continuing in other parts of town. Work began this week on gravity sewers on Lime Hill Road at Route 28, part the Agway parking lot to Linden Tree Lane. Agway will remain accessible either via Lime Hill Road or Linden Tree Lane. Sewer work is also happening on Perch Pond Road and Wilfred Road. Next week work will begin on Christopher Harding Lane.
In Harwich, work will continue the week of Feb. 10 on Old Heritage Way toward Liberty Trail and on Route 137.
All roads are open nights and weekends.