Texas Road restoration plans embraced by residents

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Joanne DiPierdomenico has been waiting three decades for improvements to her road.

Now, at long last, she is finally seeing results.

Joanne, along with husband Nick, were two of the homeowners that attended an open house last Tuesday at the UCCU Complex and was happy with what she saw on the tables and display boards.

“I’m pleased to see it’s finally going to happen,” she said. “It’s been a long time waiting – 30 years. Let’s hope it’s going to be worth it.”

When Joanne appeared before the current town council earlier in the term, she sensed there would finally be progress in getting long-awaited work done on Texas Road.

“I felt (council’s) response was positive,” she said. “I really did feel we stood a chance of finally achieving this.”

Sidewalks on both sides of the street along with the streetlights were seen as big enhancements as does the plan to install a bike lane. The new road itself will also be a major upgrade, she suggested.

“No more potholes will be lovely,” she stated.

Nick was also “pretty happy” with what he saw at the open house. He pointed out that the sidewalks on both sides of the street would address safety concerns residents have.

“It’s definitely a lot safer,” he said.

Texas Road resident Sharon Uttaro (right) discusses the road restoration project with engineer Henry Kakko of RC Spencer Associates. Construction is due to begin the first week of July.

Texas Road resident Sharon Uttaro (right) discusses the road restoration project with engineer Henry Kakko of RC Spencer Associates. Construction is due to begin the first week of July.

The newly reconstructed road will eliminate extra parking residents currently use but Nick said that is not a big deal.

“That’s a minor thing,” he said. “It’s nothing major. We just have to be creative.”

The newly reconstructed road will be a “great asset” for seniors and families, stated Sharon Uttaro.

The concrete sidewalks on both sides of the road as well as the bike lane will enhance healthy lifestyles as well as safety, she added.

“These are great additions.”

Uttaro added she looks forward to the Texas Road project being completed.

“I think it’s very promising,” she said.

Marie Duby also said the sidewalks will be a big upgrade for the road.

“There are always people walking down Texas Road,” said Duby.

Duby also noted the parking issue but added, “we’ll have to figure it all out.”

Overall, Duby was happy with what she saw as well.

“I’m just glad it’s getting done,” she said. “It’ll make a big difference.”

The comments from residents were mainly upbeat, according to director of engineering and infrastructure Lou Zarlenga.

“We’ve gotten a lot of positive comments and a lot of happy people,” said Zarlenga. “They can’t wait until it starts. They are quite content and anxious to see the completion. For the most part, people are saying it’s about time.”

Zarlenga stated little to no changes were suggested by residents.

“When they see the amenities that are going to be built, they are quite happy,” he said.

Many of the concerns raised included what happens to driveways that get damaged during construction.  The town is stating driveway reconstruction will occur within the public right-of-way only and that portion will be replaced with the preconstruction materials for concrete, asphalt and brick pavers. Existing stone driveways will be replaced with asphalt.

People were also wondering about detours, he said, with there being no detours during the construction process.

Grass areas that are damaged will also be restored, said Zarlenga.

This year’s first phase of the project will run from Front Road North to just west of Knobb Hill Dr. The second phase will occur next year and will extend to roughly 100-metres west of Thomas Road.

Each phase is estimated at $3-million apiece.

Zarlenga said the entire project will be tendered at once with one contractor doing both phases. When the project resumes next spring, Zarlenga said the existing contractor will be able to simply pick up where they left off.

“We anticipate by doing that, we’re going to get a better price,” said Zarlenga.

The project calls for a 2.7-metre concrete path on the north side with that side also having the new decorative street lighting. A 1.5-metre bike lane will be on the south side with a 1.5-metre concrete sidewalk. The roadway is also planned to include curb and gutter.

“(Residents) are quite happy the drainage is going to be looked at from one end to the other,” said Zarlenga.

With the new storm sewers also going in, it means the open ditches are going to be a thing of the past, he added.

The town also plans to recycle as much of the current roadway as possible, Zarlenga stated.

“We’re all looking forward to getting this project underway and completely successful,” he said.

Shovels should be in the ground on the first phase during the first week in July.

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