TOWNSEND -- Before the fall ends, commuters who travel up Route 119 towards the intersection of Route 13 will need to consider taking an alternate route. The Highway Department has submitted a request to the state to use funding to replace a portion of the sidewalk around the area of Bow Street and McNabb Pharmacy. The Highway Department is waiting for approval from the state before an official date can be set for the construction, but they plan to move ahead with a survey of the work needed.
"The survey work could take place any time," said Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan. "The initial hope was to get the sidewalk in this fall."
A portion of 250 feet of sidewalk will be replaced due to cracking and breakage.
"(The sidewalk) in that area is deteriorating to where it could become hazardous to people walking," said Highway Superintendent Ed Kukkula.
Although it has not presented an issue, the town does not want to take the chance of a pedestrian suffering an injury.
"We haven't had any issues of people falling or tripping yet," said Kukkula. "It's preventative."
Kukkula said he is not sure exactly how long the work will take, but he said, "I would think probably a week to two weeks at most."
"The road will be closed down at that area so (drivers) will have to find another way around," said Kukkula. "We'll just have detour signs up at the site."
The town hopes to address the issue sooner rather than later in order to move on to additional road construction projects, including resurfacing the intersection of North End Road and Route 13.
"(The work on) North End Road will probably take a day at most," said Kukkula.
The town dug up a portion of the road about three weeks ago to put in a catch basin for rain water.
"We have to pave the road where we dug it up," said Kukkula.
The town applied for Chapter 90 financing from the state for both projects. Kukkula said he expects to get approval within the next couple of weeks.
Each fiscal year, the state approves a certain amount of Chapter 90 financing per town, to be used for sidewalk and road work.
"This (fiscal) year, it's somewhere in the vicinity of $400,000 (for Townsend)," said Kukkula.
Prior to completing the work, the town must submit a request to use the funds for the specific project.
"We have to get permission to use their money," said Kukkula.
The town has accepted a bid from Tri-State Curb for the construction.
"The estimate was $20,000 for the granite curbing and sidewalk," said Sheehan. He said the resurfacing of North End Road was estimated to cost $5,800.
However, because of the Chapter 90 financing, the actual construction will be at no cost to the town.
"The labor costs are to us in terms of coordinating and things like that, but the cost (for the construction) is paid for by the state," he said.