By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Just after winding down the $25 million Winthrop Beach re-nourishment project, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has announced another $10 million project that focuses on the road and the sidewalks at the Highland or upland area of the beach.
DCR Commissioner Leo Roy came to Winthrop Tuesday night with his staff to seek comments on the final design for the Winthrop Beach project. The public comment period runs until November 9.
DCR Engineer David Ouellette said the goal is to work on the sidewalks, roadway, drainage and storm water management. The project will also improve accessibility, oceanside lighting and a Winthrop Shore gateway at the north end of the beach.
Lisa Chandler, a civil engineer with Parsons Brinckerhoof, recapped what people had asked for during the public meeting held on June 22. For the most part the DCR did incorporate many of the ideas. The sidewalk will be extended at the north end in an area near Grover’s Avenue. Bump outs will not impede parking of making a turn. Sidewalks will be replaced as will benches, railings and fence. All total there will be 24,000 square feet of sidewalk.
“At the five major entrances there will be 10 additional benches, four bike racks, four drinking foundations and four shower towers installed,” Chandler said. “All the crosswalks will be level with the sidewalk for accessibility. You won’t have to step down or step up on the other side.”
There will also be new catch basins, new manholes and a storm infiltration system to get the water off Winthrop Shore Drive during storms.
“The drains are perforated to get the water out faster,” Chandler said.
Officials are also looking in the reducing the speed limit from 30 to 25 miles per hour.
There will be new historic period lighting as has been seen at Revere Beach and in Natant.
The highlight of the project will be the work on the Highlands are. Right now there is rusted railings, crumbling sidewalks and seawall. There is also a rusted chain link fence. With the makeover of the area there will also be historic plaques installed and there will be a patterned sidewalk to look like a rail from the narrow gauge railroad that ran though the area years ago.
There will also be wooden shade structures installed and a large checkerboard to play life-size chess or checkers. The benches will be made from recycled plastic.
The design will be completed this year, an will go out to bid win 2017. The construction will take two years and is expected to be completed in 2018.