Road Construction On Payson Road, Three Other Streets Begins June 3

Photo: Belmont roads will be reconstructed beginning Wednesday

Beginning Wednesday, June 3, the Town of Belmont’s general contractor, E.H. Perkins, will commence road reconstruction on:

  • Payson Road from Oakley Road to Belmont Street,
  • Lawndale Street
  • Newton Street
  • Carleton Road

Residents can expect heavy construction activity for several weeks during the construction hours from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Payson Road will be closed to through traffic during construction hours, and commuters are advised to seek alternate routes.

For any questions or concerns about the project, contact Arthur O’Brien, resident engineer in the Office of Community Development, at 617-993-2665.

A Labor Lockout Could Keep Belmont Streets Unpaved ‘Til Spring

Photo: Common Street.

The money is in the bank, the contractors are ready to go and long-suffering residents are waiting with bated breath.

But for homeowners along four Belmont roadways, a labor dispute between workers and an international utility firm is threatening to delay the reconstruction and repaving their streets until this coming Spring.

The prediction by Town Engineer Glen Clancy to the Board of Selectmen at its Monday night meeting, Aug. 20, relates to a month-long lockout of 1,100 union gas workers by employer National Grid after the two sides could not reach an agreement on a new longer-term contract in June.

Now Belmont residents are locked out of a promised a new road after suffering through detours and delays for the past year.

“I just want the community to understand that … the town and DPW (Department of Public Works) are obviously aware of the conditions of these roads,” said Clancy.

In each case, permitted infrastructure projects – such as the installation of gas lines – are uncompleted. Under current town policy, the Office of Community Development will not release funds for roadways that require expensive gas, water, and electrical work in the near future even if it was approved by Town Meeting.

“With National Grid being locked out, the utility work necessary to finish those projects are at a standstill,” said Clancy.

Clancy said many complaints relating to the condition of Common Street which runs from just outside Belmont Center to Cushing Square and to the Watertown line. 

Other streets include Payson Road, Lawndale and Prospect streets which were selected in the past year to be part of the annual pavement management program which sets aside funds to reconstruct streets the town determines to be in the most need of repair.

“I want people to understand that if not for the lockout, it’s likely that Clifton and Prospect streets would be finished since most of the major work is complete,” said Clancy, noting that Common Street is under the 2017 pavement management contract, “so all we are waiting for is for the street to be fixed.” 

While the beginning of winter – and the end of the reconstruction and paving season – is not yet around the corner, Clancy said unless the lockout is resolved soon, DPW will need to consider a stop-gap solution “to make sure those roads are safe for driving until the spring of 2019.” He pointed to the temporary top coat of asphalt placed on Grove Street last winter as an example. 

“[National Grid] has been put on notice for that job,” said Clancy.

Answering a question from Selectman Tom Caputo, Clancy said mid-September would the latest date to begin reconstruction and replacement for any street, providing six good weeks before the weather conditions turn “sketchy.” 

“We have a little bit of time but the clock is ticking,” said Caputo. Worst case scenario, according to Clancy, is the work will be scheduled to begin in eight to nine months from Sept. 1. But even if the lockout is resolved in the next few weeks, there is no guarantee National Grid would be able to send the necessary crews to finish the work as the firm is currently backlogged with jobs.

The one “good” result of the management action is it now allows the lining of the large MWRA water main along nearly the length of Common Street to be completed without competing with National Grid crews, said Clancy. 

Correction: The labor action between National Grid and the unionized workers is a lockout, not a strike.

On the Rebuilt Street That You Live: Town’s Roads Repair List for 2016

Photo: Palfrey Street.

Palfrey Road is one of the worst conditioned streets in Belmont.

Due to the steady amount of traffic – many vehicles use the roadway as a convenient detour onto Trapelo Road bypassing the Cushing Square lights – and the unlevel pitch of the road, the thoroughfare’s road surface running between Common Street and Gilbert Road at times resembles a Peruvian mountain path with crevasses and pot holes that involuntarily realign cars wheels and steering.

But long-suffering commuters and residents need only wait just about a year for relief as the byway  was placed on the town’s fiscal year 2016 road reconstruction list that totals $2.55 million.

Announced at this week’s Town Meeting by Glenn Clancy, director of Community Development, Palfrey joins 12 other roads deemed so in disrepair that it made the cut for reconstruction. More than half of the streets have a pavement condition index (PCI) in the 30s, considered a “poor” grade where travel is “uncomfortable with frequent bumps or depressions.”

The list with the corresponding CPI rating includes:

  • Clifton Street (32) from Beatrice Circle to Prospect Street
  • Bartlett Avenue (33) from White Street to Harriet Avenue
  • Winslow Road (34) from Hammond Road to Palfrey Road
  • Palfrey Road (35) from Gilbert Road to Common Street
  • Payson Terrace (35) from Payson Road east to Payson Road west
  • Glendale Road (36) from Common Street to Orchard Street.
  • Cushing Avenue (36) from Pine Street to Payson Road
  • Sharpe Road (37) from School Street to Washington Street
  • Marion Road (39) from Belmont Street to Grove Street
  • Albert Avenue (40) from Tobey Road to Brighton Street
  • Albert Avenue (53) from Lake Street to Tobey Road
  • Simmons Avenue (41) from Scott Road to Brighton Street
  • Middlecot Street (40) from north of Cowdin Street to Claflin Street 
  • Middlecot Street (72) from Cross Street to north of Cowdin Street
  • Sherman Street (41) from Brighton Street to Dean Street.

Clancy said the list is subject to change based on the availability of utility work to be completed on the roads in 2016. But he added that National Grid, the gas utility, has stepped up the rate of conversions this year insomuch that he believes that most, if not all, of the roads on the list will be completed by the end of the construction season next year.

Is Your Street Going to be Paved this Year? Here is the List of the Lucky 13

Photo: Concord Avenue.

The Belmont Board of Selectmen made residents along 13 streets very happy by approving a $107,800 contract to town’s pavement management consultant which lists those roadways to be reconstructed during the 2015 construction season.

According to town engineer and Community Development Director Glenn Clancy, the roads include:

  • Charles Street (from Slade to Orchard)
  • Edward Street (from Orchard to Waverley)
  • Holt Street (from Lexington to 25 feet east of Knowles)
  • Orchard Street (from Common to Beech)
  • Richmond Road (from Prospect to Lawrence) 
  • Somerset Street (from Pleasant to Shady Brook)
  • Warwick Road (from Common to Carleton)
  • Wellington Lane (from Concord to Somerset)
  • Winthrop Road (from Common to Charles)
  • Garden Street (from Washington to Long)
  • Concord Avenue (eastbound from Common to Cottage, and westbound from Cottage to Common)
  • Hastings Road (from Common to Brettwood)
  • Elm Street (from School to Payson)