DARTMOUTH — You won't find two major infrastructure projects proposed for the town on the capital needs funding list for the coming fiscal year and at a recent meeting, town officials explained why.
The projects which have both been in the planning stages for some time are the relocation of the north end of Tucker Road to align it with the intersection of Hathaway Road, and the replacement of the bridge-opening mechanism on the Padanaram Causeway.
The DPW has a $2 million request for land-taking and business relocation expenses for the Tucker Road project on the fiscal 2020 capital needs list. The long-planned project “has been in a holding pattern” at the state level for some time, as town and DOT officials negotiate how the costs of the effort will be divided, David Hickox, the director of public works said at a meeting last week.
The town has been suggesting that the state contribute some funding to the considerable land-taking and relocation costs since the local project will help alleviate serious traffic flow problems on Route 6, a state-controlled roadway. The taking of the Metro Pizza plaza on State Road will be a major portion of those expenses, Hickox said.
So far, the state has offered to contribute about $365,000 in engineering costs to the town to help offset that financial burden, he said. That’s an indication that the project is “high on MassDOT’s priority list,” he added.
The DOT has also pledged $1.1 million in financial assistance for planned repairs to the central granite piers supporting the Padanaram Bridge next year. The repair and regrouting of the stonework is scheduled for the spring and summer months, and will not require the bridge to be closed. Most of the work will be done from barges, Hickox said.
Some $500,000 in town funds have been appropriated for engineering and design work related to the proposed replacement of the bridge-opening mechanism sitting atop the central piers. The actual replacement of the swing span bridge mechanism, in place since 1935, is tentatively scheduled for fiscal 2021.
The cost of removing the old bridge-opening mechanism and installing new equipment has been estimated at $10 million. The town is actively pursuing grant monies to help cover the expense, the director said.
“Obviously, it would be a great financial challenge for the town” to undertake that project without some significant funding assistance, Budget & Finance Director Greg Barnes said.