Selectman Andrea Peraner-Sweet on Oct. 13, 2015

Selectmen Approve Rockfill For Main Street Wall

The long discussed 2016 Main Street infrastructure updates will be decided once and for all no later than Tuesday, and last Tuesday the Board of Selectmen finalized one more component to those renovations.

In a 4-0-0 vote, the Selectmen approved a rockfilled retaining wall along a portion of the road just west of the Tedeschi’s Plaza.

During a previous meeting, the rockfill option was described as the least expensive option for reinforcing the road and a culvert as it passes near Leland Road.

Expected overall costs are projected at $100,000.

That fact proved to be crucial for Selectman Kelly Ross.

“There are so many demands on the town’t money, eventually you have to prioritize,” he said.

Until this point, the retaining wall consisted of engineering from the early 19th century, which included a small passageway for cows.

Although the Westford Historical Commission had discussed the historical nature of the wall, as of Tuesday they had not issued a statement for or against preserving the wall.

Nearby residents issued concerns about the speed of hearings on the project, with the first notices coming in May, but Town Engineer Paul Staratt also made timing a priority.

During previous meetings, he has indicated to the board that finalized plans for all construction on the road had to be finalized by Oct. 20, one day after Special Town Meeting.

“There are still a lot of moving parts on this,” he told the board. “We need direction.”

The Selectmen’s vote also included language instructing town employees to work with abutters to maintain or restore existing conditions in the area of the wall following its reconstruction.

On Monday, voters will decide on a petitioned warrant article on contested sidewalks along the street, proposed by Jennifer Williams.

In Williams’ petition, the proposed sidewalks would stretch from Depot Street to Tadmuck Road and be a consistent five feet wide. It would also be built with asphalt, which she has told the board is more conducive to handicapped residents.

The Selectmen have also sought a variance from the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board to potentially pursue materials that would be less aesthetically invasive. A decision from the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board is expected on Monday, likely during Special Town Meeting.

Both the retaining wall and the sidewalks are part of a larger project that looks to replace nearly hundred year old water pipes located underneath the street.

Starratt proposed repaving the street and offered the possibility of sidewalks along the street due to significant savings on doing all the renovations at the same time.