Harwich Officials Discussing Financial Feasibility of Lower County Rd Project

HARWICH – Officials in Harwich are discussing the financial viability of a proposed reconstruction of Lower County Road.

DPW Director Lincoln Hooper discussed the progress made with Selectmen recently on the project he proposed in 2015.

Cost estimates for the project, which was planned for Fiscal Year 2019, have increased from $4 million to $5.4 million.

Hooper says the project is not a strong candidate for state or federal funding.

“The cross-section to meet the “complete street” standards is a minimum of 45 feet without design exceptions and we have a 40-foot right-of-way on Lower County Road,” Hooper said.

Hooper said the road has poor surface conditions, non-ADA compliant sidewalks and failing drainage systems.

The estimate was increased after Hooper brought in consultant Tom Ockerbloom, a retired MassDOT senior project engineer, to review the project.

Ockerbloom was responsible for overseeing the previous Route 137 corridor project.

“I had the privilege of working with Mr. Ockerbloom for about two years during that project. I was extremely impressed with him,” Hooper said. “When I saw Lower County Road needed some outside assistance I called him and he was willing to help.”

Ockerbloom reviewed the extent of the work last summer and walked the roadway with a measuring wheel.

“The pricing structure is based on the MassDOT’s weighted average bid prices which is a list of pricing everyone uses,” Ockerbloom said. “It’s current within the previous 12 months. It’s the statewide average of probably hundreds of projects and the average prices for each item are taken into account.”

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