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Townsend Highway Dept. packing for move to new headquarters

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

TOWNSEND — Highway Superintendent Ed Kukkula is preparing to move.

Inside the highway garage on Dudley Road, boxes of papers and files are being packed, while on the outside of the building he is directing the collection of heavier stuff — such as tons of granite curbing that must go to the town’s new facility, a gift of the Sterilite Corporation.

“We have to take along all our repair materials and everything else that is stockpiled here,” Kukkula said.

Thirty-one pieces of equipment, including trucks, a backhoe and two sweepers, will rumble over to the department’s new home, off route 119 in Townsend Center. The new complex, presided over by a massive green garage, is in the final stages of completion, according to Gary Shepherd, project coordinator.

The gift of this new complex, together with a new library and new senior center, was announced by Sterilite Corporation Chairman Al Stone in August 2007. The present garage and out-buildings on Dudley Road will be razed to provide the building site for the new library and senior center.

“The buildings are finished and all the utilities are connected. The paving of the access road and parking lot is completed,” Shepherd said. The 7-acre site is part of 40 acres of Sterilite property that will be donated to the town.

The project has been engineered to protect the surrounding property, Shepherd said. “Environmental concerns have been uppermost in the planning.” Runoff from the site that might contain hazardous materials will be channeled to two retention basins.

Kukkula’s crew of six men will operate in a building nearly half again as large as their space on Dudley Road. The complex will also contain a salt storage shed larger than the present one.

In addition to increased space, Kukkula said he and his crew are looking forward to an improved working climate provided by roof insulation and a modern heating and air conditioning system.

“The new entrance doors will be wide enough there to accommodate wing trucks without scraping the walls,” he said. Included in the garage are office space and a break room for the employees.

Kukkula, who has served the town in his present job for 10 years, is a native New Englander. Born in Fitchburg, his work experience includes time with the Florida Department of Transportation, and Boston’s “Big Dig.”

His responsibilities include the care of 88 miles of town roads and streets. Repairing potholes is the crew’s number one activity, along with cleaning catch basins, paving, sweeping and cutting brush. While fuel and utility costs have risen, the department has suffered cuts of an average of 2 percent per year for the last 10 years, he said. He anticipates that the new facility will be more efficient and thus more economical to operate and maintain.

“An open house will be held so that the public can view the new facility as the first step in the realization of Sterilite’s donation to the town,” Kukkula said.

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