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Road That's an 'Absolute Mess' Will Get New Pavement, Drainage

Gregory Island Road in Hamilton will have a new driving surface and improved drainage by mid-summer.

One of the most pockmarked road surfaces in Hamilton is beginning to get a new look.

And by the end of July, Gregory Island Road will have a smooth coat of pavement, improved drainage and a consistent width.

“The road is an absolute mess,” said John Tomasz, director.

It is the first of three major road projects in Hamilton that, if things progress as planned, could all be completed by fall.

The determination was made after an evaluation of the condition of all roads in town about two years ago, Tomasz said.

“We’re trying to attack the worst roads,” he said.

The project will cover close to a half-mile stretch of the road from Forest Street to the Essex town line and will cost $485,000. It will be paid entirely by state Chapter 90 highway money and will be completed by BitCon Corp. of Topsfield.

Tomasz said on Monday that that work began last week and already, booms have been set up along the side of the road to prevent setiment to run into nearby wetlands.

The project is set to be completed by the end of July, with “heavy-duty work” occurring after school is over for the year in June so that school buses will always be able to get through.

In addition to a new road surface, six new catch basins and infiltration basins will be constructed to help improve drainage on the road. The road width also varies and the road will, when complete, have a consistent width the entire length.

One decision that was made was to not raise the road on its eastern end in an area where the road has flooded during major rainstorms in the past, including the Mother’s Day flood in 2006.

“It would have required bringing (the road) up by a few feet,” Tomasz said.

Local residents will be notified, via a hand-delivered memo, about any expected road closures of other major disruptions, Tomasz said. On Monday morning, for example, a memo was delivered to area residents about plans to dig a trench across the road this week.

Tomasz said the project is the largest paving project in Hamilton since he began as DPW director four years ago.

“This is probably one of the biggest projects we’ve had in a while,” he said.

Previous road surfacing projects have included crack sealing on Miles River Road and Moulton Street.

Next up is Linden Street, where the existing surface will be ground-up and repaved. Work on about half mile of the street, from the Wenham town line to Highland Street, would not involve the drainage improvements needed along Gregory Island Road.

“If all goes well, I’d love to get it done this fall,” Tomasz said about Linden Street.

And lastly, Tomasz said plans are coming together to replace the culvert that carries the Miles River under Bridge Street. The total project cost is estimated at $988,000 with $247,000 of that coming from Hamilton’s Chapter 90 state highway money. The rest of the project would be paid with a Federal Emergency Management Agency would cover the rest of the project, Tomasz said.

Jim Smith April 24, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Road looks like the logging road to Haskell dead water on the East Branch of the Penobscott River in Maine.
Jerome April 24, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Good thing the booms are in place. Wouldn't want any "sentiments" draining into the adjacent wetlands...
Robert Gates (Editor) April 24, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Jerome, Thank you for catching that typo. It has been corrected.
Susanna McLaughlin April 25, 2012 at 11:26 PM
From the tone of your remark you must be one of the newbies to town who wants to see Hamilton turn into "snoburbia."

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