Causeway, Tucker Road relocation projects facing issues

Apr 17, 2018

Drivers beware: the Padanaram causeway might not re-open by Memorial Day as originally planned.

That’s according to Department of Public Works Director David Hickox, who said the series of March nor’easters has thrown the construction timeline off track.

Although the nor’easters did not damage the causeway, Hickox said crews were forced to delay a critical step in the construction process that required specific air temperatures for a set number of days. The storms prevented that work.

The work has since been completed, but how the issue will affect the causeway construction timeline is unclear, as Hickox said he is meeting with state officials later in the week for an update on the timeline.

The causeway was originally set to open in June, but town officials had hoped to re-open the link between Padanaram and Smith Neck early in time for Memorial Day weekend. Now, Hickox said he believes the opening could be closer to the contractor deadline of June 2018.

The project is not the only one in town facing issues. Engineering for the the Tucker Road-Hathaway Road relocation project is moving forward despite funding concerns.

The $5.6 million project involves rerouting Tucker Road through the site of the current North Dartmouth Library, and forming a new four-way signalized intersection with Hathaway Road and State Road (Route 6).

At issue is funding for required land takings, the bulk of which involve the Metro Pizza plaza on Route 6. Portions of a parking lot of a nearby medical office, and portions of residential properties around the North Dartmouth Library will also need to be taken.

“MassDOT is anxious to move this project along because it is a mitigating component to the issues out on State Road and Faunce Corner Road – the traffic backups there,” Hickox said.

The town and MassDOT are still working to determine who will cover land takings and for how much. Hickox said a final cost for land takings has not been worked out yet as properties will need to be appraised.

The DPW has a $2 million request in its five-year plan for fiscal year 2020 to fund the land takings, although Hickox said that amount could increase or decrease depending on how the final numbers work out between the town and state.

Engineering work for the project is beginning, and Hickox said the next step will be coming up with design documents to present to a public hearing to let residents weigh in on the project.

In other construction news, traffic lights could come to the Old Westport Road/Chase Road intersection by the fall. The Select Board approved small land takings for the project recently, which was the final component needed. Bids are planned to go out in late spring and work could begin in the fall.

Over the summer, the DPW will conduct several water main projects, including on Rogers Street, Lucy Little Road, and Milton Street. Once the Rogers Street work is complete, new sidewalks will be installed.

The Padanaram sidewalk project is set to wrap up in the next few weeks. That project involved widening the roadway and improving, and in some cases adding, sidewalks to portions of Elm Street. Once the sidewalks are fully installed, final repaving of the road will commence.