Harwich Selectmen Narrowly Endorse Lower County Road Project

HARWICH – Selectmen in Harwich are endorsing a project to reconstruct Lower County Road.

The project has an estimated cost of $5.5 million and will address deteriorating road conditions while improving sidewalks and drainage along a 2.25-mile stretch of the roadway.

Selectmen voted 3-2 earlier this month to endorse the project which will go before Town Meeting voters on May 6 through a $4.5 million debt exclusion.

“The public needs the opportunity to be able to determine whether it is a compelling enough reason to go ahead with it,” said Selectman Don Howell.

“I hear the argument and it makes sense, but it really is going to be up to the people who have to pay for the road to determine that it was urgent enough for them to consider funding it this year as opposed to next year.”

The plan does not comply with the state’s Complete Streets program and will not receive any state or federal Transportation Improvement Project funds.

The Complete Streets program requires bike lanes and ADA compliant sidewalks, along with a width of 43 feet.

Lower County Road is currently only 40 feet wide. To meet state standards the project would require the taking of property.

“I believe this road is a priority for the department and it should be a priority for the town,” said Lincoln Hooper, the director of the Department of Public Works.

Hooper expects bids to come in lower than the estimated $5.5 million price tag.

Nineteen companies have taken out bid documents for the project and the bid opening will be Tuesday.

Hooper said the DPW will contribute $1 million for the project from its annual road maintenance fund.

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