WILMINGTON — At the Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday, Aug. 16, a number of street and intersection improvements were brought forward via appointments and communications.
Wilmington Town Engineer Paul Alunni took time with the board to give updates on the Cook Avenue water connection, the truck exclusion on Woburn Street, and the easement at 203 Lowell St.
Alunni explained that the water connection being installed on Cook Avenue had requested an extension for another 45 days, since they had been granted one year for the project as of Aug. 18, 2020.
So far, he shared that they had completed installing the water main on Cook Avenue and its offshoots, the fire hydrants, the water shut-offs, and two water services. The things left to be done included chlorination of the water main, adjusting one fire hydrant, pressure testing, and the final paving.
“I think it’s in the town’s best interest to grant the extension,” Alunni said.
Within that time, he said the project would be completed and fully operational, and there would be time to confirm the payment of vendors and subcontractors and complete the required certifications.
Selectman Gary DePalma asked if the street would be repaved within the 45 days. Alunni answered that the paving should be done within the next two weeks.
Greg Bendel wanted confirmation that the households where the drinking water is affected wouldn’t be waiting another 45 days. Alunni shared that he had connected with the resident at the end of Cook Avenue who confirmed that the water meter was in.
Once the chlorination testing, which had already been started, is complete, they would just have to restore the connection to the house. He expected this to be done any day.
The board moved at that time to take up an item on their agenda to approve the extension request. It was approved unanimously by vote.
The town engineer next discussed the result of a request for a truck exclusion that the town had filed with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, or Mass DOT. In their response, he said their requirements stated that the alternate route should be entirely within the community and the total traffic volume include at least five percent for trucks.
He added that the town provided a letter of support from the City of Woburn and wrote in their request they’d anticipate an increase of truck volumes with the New Boston Street Bridge.
Along with denying the town’s request, Alunni mentioned that Mass DOT recommended the unenforceable truck exclusion sign be taken down and the traffic be counted again six months after the bridge installation. The numbers that the town sent in counted 250 trucks out of 10,000 total vehicles, so it only measured 2.5 percent. He said that the sign was already taken down.
His final item was to ask the board to accept an easement to help facilitate an intersection improvement that was scheduled for 2023 at 203 Lowell St. The easement would allow the land to be extended to make a dedicated right turn lane and other utility work.
He also shared that the plan for this property would include the construction of 50 condominium units, a small bank, and other office and retail space.
“It would be beneficial for the development to have the intersection upgraded to the highest degree,” he said.
Chair Lilia Maselli asked if the easement would provide a new entrance to the property, but Alunni said that they’d use the existing curb cut that Textron had been using. He showed the endorsed plans brought before the Planning Board for the property and told them that construction hadn’t begun yet.
Maselli also wondered if trucks would enter on Woburn Street, and Alunni said that the entrance for everyone would be off of Woburn Street.
DePalma wanted to make sure that all of the changes being made to the intersection would work for the development, so that no further work would be required. Alunni ensured the board that the town’s traffic consultant had peer reviewed National Development’s work so that everything would be approved and no further changes would be necessary.
They then moved up the authorization for the easement at 203 Lowell St. and voted to approve.
Another issue related to intersection improvements came up later in the meeting during communications. Town Manager Jeff Hull had written to the board about a concern at the intersection of Middlesex Avenue and Clark Street, explaining the town’s traffic engineer would be reviewing accident data and come back to the board likely in September with a recommendation.
Resident Ed Johnson’s letter to the board asking for the town to take action on Clark Street regarding the accidents and excessive speeding and truck traffic, and the town manager’s response, were also included. Johnson wrote that heavy trucks driving down Clark Street cause entire homes to shake and suffer property damage. He reported there are 5-7 accidents at the intersection of Clark Street and Middlesex Avenue per month and attached signatures from fellow residents.
Hull explained in his response the process required for a truck exclusion and what efforts would be taken by the town to see if the street would meet the MUTCD guidelines for the volume of traffic and percentage of trucks to be at least 5-8 percent.
They also voted to approve a stop sign installation on Carter Lane where it meets Boutwell Street, with the recommendation from DPW Operations Manager/Tree Warden Jamie Magaldi that visibility into the main road is impacted.