Brewster Finalizing Controversial Millstone Road Improvement Project

By: Bronwen Walsh

>Some signs urge “Save Millstone Road” while others advocate “Make Millstone Safe” and “Sidewalks for Kids.”

BREWSTER – Town Administrator Peter Lombardi estimates that about 25 percent of town residents live on or adjacent to Millstone Road, which transports approximately 4,000 vehicles a day between Routes 6A and 137.

“This road is a major cut-through,” said Nicole Bohane, who was out gardening at her Millstone Road house. “I’m in the middle. My family has owned our home for over 30 years. I’m one of the lucky ones” because their house is set back in the woods, whereas “neighbors across the street in older homes are not far from the road.”

In 2015, Town Meeting voters approved a $10 million road bond to cover several major road reconstruction projects, including significant upgrades to Underpass and Snow roads. In 2017, the town solicited engineering bids and hired Vanasse, Hangen, Brustlin, Inc. to prepare similar upgrade plans for Millstone Road. Some $5.75 million in road bond funding remains available to add ADA-compliant sidewalks and other safety improvements along Millstone Road.

After three public information sessions, the Millstone Road improvement plans were put on hold in April 2021 while the town finalized the acquisition of the former Cape Cod Sea Camps.

The town plans to finalize the redesign in the next several months, Lombardi said Monday via email. Local and state permitting is expected to begin this fall/winter and should be completed by next spring. The town will then put the project out to bid next summer, anticipating a fall 2023 construction start.

“We expect the project will take three construction seasons to complete – fall 2023, spring 2024, and fall 2024,” Lombardi said. “This timeline is subject to change but reflects our current expectations.”

“The first plan seemed a little aggressive,” Bohane said. “The markers seemed to go up overnight. Patrick Ellis (town planner) would come talk to people about it. Since then, they have toned it down a little.”

“Anyone in their right mind would not be riding a bike on this road now,” Bohane said. “This road was not built to support what’s happening here now. I’m very careful when I’m out there mowing or landscaping.

“I don’t mind the sidewalks,” she added. “It’s the cigarettes and the nips.”

With an influx of ARPA funding, “everything is bigger and better for the summer people. Who are they doing this for? I have concerns with straightening the road and speeding, but I don’t think there’s any stopping it.”

In addition, she said, “the town bought a piece of property across from Cliff Pond Estates so they can put in affordable housing. Does that mean more cars? We’re not going to know anything until they do it.”

Rich Pfund, who was sanding the exterior of his cousin’s house at 714 Millstone Rd., said, “I can see the need – you can’t back out with people driving 45 miles per hour. The road should be straighter. But what would that do to this front yard?”

At the end of the day, Kalinick said, “it’s all about communicating with people.”

Review the plans to date on the town website under “Millstone Road Improvement Project.”