DCR Begins Two-Year Project on Winthrop Shore Drive

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

Construction crews are ready to start on a $10 million project to improve areas around Winthrop Beach on Shore Drive.

While the Department of Recreation and Conservation (DCR) has made a presentation on this project in the past, DCR came back last Wednesday night to show people once again the work that will be done along Winthrop Beach for the next two years.

The DCR already previously spent $25,000 on the re-nourishment of Winthrop Beach, including the addition of cobbles to fend off damage from waves.

“We’ve been balancing recreation and protecting birds,” said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy, who came to help ease residents into this next project.

Work during the project will include sidewalks, roadway, drainage and storm water management. MDR Construction will be doing the work. The project will also improve accessibility making everything ADA compliant, oceanside lighting will be installed and a Winthrop Shore gateway at the north end of the beach will be built. Work will also include the replacement of a troublesome water main.

Lisa Chandler, a civil engineer with Parsons Brinckerhoof, recapped what people had asked for during the previous public meeting. The sidewalk will be extended at the north end in an area near Grover’s Avenue. Bump outs intended to calm traffic will not impede parking of making a turn. She said crosswalks will be level with the sidewalks.

“We will reconstruct the roadway and the sidewalks, it will be ripped up and a new section will be placed,” Chandler said.

Although parking along the beach will be impacted. Sidewalks will be replaced and widened. Benches, railings and fence. All total there will be 24,000 square feet of sidewalk.

The sidewalk will be extended at the north end in an area near Grover’s Avenue.

The highlight of the project will be the work on the Highlands area. Right now there is rusted railing, crumbling sidewalks and seawall. There is 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. Chandler said they will be installing  drinking fountains and tower showers. Lighting fixtures will have an ornamental look similar to the lights at Lynn Beach.

“We appreciate your patience through this project,” Roy said to those in attendance.

The job site hours are from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and work will progress during the winter months and is expected to be completed in June of 2019. The truck route will use the Winthrop Parkway. DCR officials reminded everyone that there will be impacts on parking, traffic flow and some detours. Chandler said they expect to lose about 22 parking spaces during the project.

“We will start at Beacon Street at the south end of the beach and we will move in 500-foot increments,” Chandler said.

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