PEPPERELL — “The Mill Street Bridge is just about complete,” said Department of Public Works Director Kenneth Kalinowski at the Board of Public Works meeting last week.
“It’s expected to be reopened on or possibly before May 5,” he said.
A detour has been in place for more than a year as the entire bridge structure was replaced and a new water main installed.
Although most of the region experienced a very mild winter, the late October snow storm and several rain and freeze cycles resulted in the Highway Department expending $142,000 for snow and ice removal this season.
The town recently sent in a $66,509 reimbursement request to FEMA of which the town expects 75 percent to be returned to the town. Additional reimbursements are being requested form the Mass DOT for the federally funded roads in town.
“If they’re both approved, they could substantially offset the expenditures of the snow and ice budget to the point where I estimate there would be in theory a net surplus in the $80,000 that was budgeted overall. That would be a very good thing to have going into next fiscal year,” said Kalinowski.
Twenty Pepperell town employees and an additional 17 registrants from surrounding communities attended a Chainsaw Safety Training class on April 5. The event was sponsored by the town’s insurer MIAA .
“I think the event was extremely well received by everyone who attended,” said Kalinowski who explained that the training is expected to reduce the liability premium that the town pays each year to its insurer.
After years of discussion with National Grid regarding the relocating of utility poles near the Jersey Street municipal well, Kalinowski reported that a preliminary estimate had been received in the amount of $25,000. National Grid’s original price tag to the town was $78,000. Kalinowski believes the work could be completed as early as the fall of this year.
The Highway Department is continuing to pursue safety improvements to the intersection at Mt. Lebanon and Townsend streets.
“It’s been a long standing safety upgrade to address the acute angle at that intersection as well as some restricted sight lines,” said Kalinowski.
The work at the intersection requires an easement from an abutting homeowner.
“The owner presented us with a list of considerations they would be interested in obtaining in exchange for providing the town with the easement to perform the work,” he said.
“While we’re anxious to get the project off the books some of the requests that they have may result in the current proposal not being cost effective if we don’t come to terms. We may have to consider alternate methods to accomplish it,” said Kalinowski.
The town is interested in coming to an agreement with the home owner without having to go as far as an eminent domain taking.
In other highway news the town is anticipating nearly the same Chapter 90 funding as it received last year. The funding is likely to come in around $415,000. Money from Chapter 90 funding is used for repaving within the town.
The Conservation Commission recently approved a DPW plan to replace 100 feet of culvert and the installation of an additional 100 feet off 12 Lowell St. According to Kalinowski, it’s a major drainage area and drainage system.
The EPA and DEP sent six representatives to the Wastewater Treatment Plant last week to review with facility personnel “what might be coming up.” According to Water and Sewer Superintendent Laurie Stevens, the expectation is that the levels for nitrogen and phosphorous may be lowered.
“We’re pretty sure we can handle that with the infrastructure we have,” said Stevens.
“They seemed to be happy with the way the plant looked and the operation of the plant. And they commented about how it is well kept and well run,” she said.
The board approved abatements for 1 Pleasant St. totaling $652.78 for water and sewer due to an incorrect meter reading used to calculate the bill; 106 Brookline St. for $55.38 for a sewer maintenance fee inadvertently assigned to the account; and 115 Brookline St. for $55.38 for a sewer maintenance fee which was exempted by written agreement.