Published in the October 6, 2015 edition.


WAKEFIELD — One of the two public works-related articles that may go before voters at Nov. 16 Regular Town Meeting would seek to borrow $2.5 million to help the town begin catching up with roadway maintenance and repairs.

The Advisory Board of Public Works last night voted to present the article for inclusion on the Town Meeting warrant.

DPW Director Richard Stinson stressed last night that he was not certain if the request would go through this year, as it would depend on the town’s overall financial picture. If it were to be approved, it would mean a 10-year bond that would be paid back at $250,000 per year out of tax levy.

Stinson said last night that the town is $10 million to $20 million behind in roadway maintenance and repair. The intent would be to seek $2.5 million a year for the next four to five years in an effort to catch up.

In the past year, several members of the Board of Selectmen have advocated appropriating more money to allow the DPW to increase the number of road miles that it can repave and maintain every year.

Stinson has long said that with the average lifespan of a roadway of about 15 years, the town should be resurfacing about six of its total of 90 road miles per year. But with the amount of Chapter 90 funds that the town receives from the state plus an extra $200,000 that the town has been adding in recent years, the DPW is lucky if it can do about three miles per year. Consequently, the town falls further behind each year.

The other Town Meeting article endorsed by the BPW last night related to funding the town’s infiltration/inflow removal program. Inflow and infiltration are terms used to describe water that enters municipal sewer systems that should be handled by storm drains. The water enters either through improper connections or through cracks in underground sewer pipes. Groundwater entering the sanitary sewer system increases the amount of flow, can overload the system and increase the cost to ratepayers.

A proposed Town Meeting article would authorize the Board of Selectmen to apply for, receive and expend a grant/loan from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority in the amount of $1,017,000 for the town to use for its infiltration/inflow removal program.

Stinson explained last night 75 percent of the amount sought, or $762,750 would be a grant. The other 25 percent ($254,250) would be a no-interest loan from the MWRA. The town would issue bonds or notes and pay back the loan over 10 years.

In other business, Stinson told the board that the water main work on Princess Street was coming along, although more slowly than anticipated. He said that crews ran into some difficulty at the Main Street end where he said that some of the utilities were very old. He said that a solution to the Main Street issue was figured out yesterday and he expected the work to be completed this month.


The board heard a number of water/sewer bill abatement requests last night. After reviewing some of the discrepancies between readings of old and new water meters, the board voted to explore the feasibility of bringing in an outside firm to help speed up completion of the DPW’s ongoing water meter replacement project.


Stinson said that he had only gotten one complaint about the reconfiguration of the Salem Street/Vernon Street intersection. He said most of the comments he’s heard have been favorable.

Stinson said that sidewalk and other work still remains to be done at the intersection.


Stinson was asked about the status of work to improve the intersection of Prospect and Cedar streets. Changes to the intersection were approved last year to address concerns that the left turn directly onto Cedar Street from Prospect Street was too sharp and too tight. The changes include widening Cedar Street near the intersection with Prospect Street and moving the curb at the northwest corner of the island. Moving that corner curbing back would make the left turn from Prospect Street onto Cedar Street much easier by decreasing the angle of the turn.

Stinson said that it would also involve moving a fire hydrant, which would probably be done before this winter with the remainder of the project tackled in the spring.


Stinson reported that bids for the sewer station upgrade project came in too high and the DPW will re-bid it in December.