As the end of August draws nearer, many residents and businesses in the center business district of town have been frustrated at the pace of a major water-sewer and roadway replacement project that has dragged on almost two months longer than originally scheduled.
Though it is cold comfort to residents and business owners who say the long-running project has been a burden to them, town officials seems equally frustrated by the pace of the project. However, Public Works Director Dave Hickey delivered some good news on the project this week, when he reported that an initial paving coat had finally been laid on the four affected streets and the final work will be taking place over the next 10 to 14 days.
â€œI can say that work over the last few weeks has been more or less on the updated schedule and we will spend the next eight to 10 days re-setting structures in the road way, so that we can put down a top paving coat,â€ said Hickey, who admitted that the pace of work through the months of June and July was unsatisfactory, even though some of the delays were â€œlegitimate change orders.â€
â€œWe pushed (the contractor) hard to try and have it done before school started and it looks like weâ€™re going to miss that by about a week,â€ said Hickey. â€œBut the bottom line is that the end is in sight, all major construction work is completed and we just have to take the time to reset structures so that we can complete the paving.â€
Hickey did say that he believes the lionâ€™s share of the issues were a result of management of the project by the contractor, Cape Ann Equipment.
â€œThe contractor seemed to be dealing with financial related scheduling issues throughout the project,â€ said Hickey. â€œThere were some legitimate change orders, but some were definitely related to the contractorâ€™s ability to deal with issues as they arose.â€
The $1 million project was paid for through a combination of grants and low-cost loans available through the MWRA. Other streets impacted during the construction included Jefferson Avenue and Fremont street.