SHIRLEY — When Department of Public Works Director Brandon Kelly presented his town-wide paving plan to the selectmen Monday night, the board not only approved the plan, they welcomed it, given the poor condition many roads and sidewalks are in, and with repairs and upgrades long overdue.
Still relatively new to a job that went unfilled for years, Kelly had some catching up to do and he's been keeping the board posted on his road repair and paving strategy, including the purchase of new DPW equipment such as a sidewalk machine and "hot box" trailer, recently approved by Town Meeting.
Citing residents' concerns about "the state of our streets," with an alarming array of potholes that make driving on some roads as tricky as navigating through an obstacle course, he called the current proposal a "major infrastructure commitment" that is also a "financially responsible" approach to the problem.
Instead of attempting to pave everything over in one, prolonged effort, Kelly aims to systematically upgrade the town's infrastructure, pinpointing the worst problem areas first.
The first phase one targets six streets, starting with part of Center Road (marked with white paint) and all of Holden Road.
Next are marked sections of Horse Pond and Spaulding roads, followed by two sections of Walker Road: from Great Road to Hazen Road and from Hazen to a section of Walker marked with white paint.
Mulpus Road is next, from the Lunenburg town line (marked with paint) to existing new pavement.
Last on the list, part of Front Street as far as the Lancaster Road pavement.
Each paving job will be geared for its unique challenges. For example: for the stretch of Hazen Road with a "significant depression..." the plan is to grind, level, then pave the surface, Kelly said, about 2,700 feet in all.
Spaulding Road, which he called "another significant through-way," is slated for a full pave, he said.
Selectman Andre Jean Jacques asked why the whole of Front Street wasn't in his sights.
Major construction going on there now (new gas station/convenience store next to the Laundry Mat) could end up gouging up any new pavement the DPW puts down, Kelly said, so he'll wait until the project is complete before tackling the entire Front Street span.
Kelly has earmarked $727,000 in Chapter 90 state highway funds for his paving line-up and the good news is it won't break the bank. "We'll still have some left" to finish Front Street and other areas, he said. Plus, there's a $400,000 grant in the works that should take care of the rest, including sidewalks.
Meantime, the DPW will patch pop-up potholes as needed, he said.
Once highway funds are available, after July 1, a schedule can be set, Town Administrator Mike McGovern said and the paving map will be posted on the town website, with locations and dates.