In the News > Burlington Wraps Banner Year of Road Construction

Burlington Wraps Banner Year of Road Construction


Whether you considered it a sign of fiscal strength, a traffic nightmare or a scourge on your neighborhood, there is no denying that 2011 will go on the record as one of Burlington’s busiest years for road construction.

Now that the season is drawing to a close, Burlington Patch sat down with Town Engineer Tom Hayes to find out what was accomplished and what lies ahead.

The town tackled three major road construction projects this year:

  • A new intersection at Third Avenue and Middlesex Turnpike
  • A water main project on Francis Wyman Road
  • A two-plus year force water main project that started at Terrace Hall Avenue

The project at Third Avenue was funded by a state grant, and by the Nordblom Company. The project, now completed, is part of a larger effort to create a Planned Development District on the forty acres of land commonly referred to as Northwest Park. Nordblom’s vision as outlined to Town Meeting in 2006 includes retail establishments with residences above, office space, green space and a “main street” with the feeling of a small community within Burlington. 

Plans are currently underway to build a 140,000 square foot Wegman’s grocery store on Third Avenue. The construction at the intersection of Third Avenue and Middlesex Turnpike was necessary to support the expected traffic in and out of the new Nordlom community.

Hayes explained that although the project is funded by outside sources, it is still under the purview of the Town’s Engineering Department and requires the close attention and monitoring of the engineering staff.

The water main project along Francis Wyman Road was town funded and although it caused traffic difficulties throughout the summer, the residents gained 3,000 feet of much needed new water mains along Francis Wyman Road.  The town worked with the gas utility company to replace gas mains along the route wherever possible.  The project is nearly complete and trenches have been covered with a permanent patch. Next summer the road will be repaved from Wing Terrace to Bedford Street. 

Currently, the Engineering Department is testing a new configuration at the intersection of Bedford Street and Francis Wyman Road. Intending to slow traffic and increase safety, barrels have been placed to create a T-shaped intersection as opposed to a Y-shaped intersection. If the test period is successful, the Engineering Department will present a plan for a permanent T-intersection to the Board of Selectmen. That work if approved is also likely to occur in the summer of 2012.

The final project that Mr. Hayes discussed with Patch is the Force Water Main project. This behemoth undertaking is expected to take two and a half years to complete. It involves a major overhaul of the Town’s pumping station at Terrace Hall as well as a new sewer pipe that will eventually run from Terrace Hall all the way to the City of Woburn. The project, estimated to cost over $7 million dollars, ran into some trouble early on as old, brittle water mains in the area began breaking from the pressure of nearby construction. As a result, the project was modified to also include new water mains all along Sandybrook Road, Hemlock Lane and James Street.

“The work has gone a little slower than we anticipated. The water main was a huge issue,” said Hayes. “There was $500,000 of water work to be done,” he explained.

According to residents, the construction has been trying, causing frequent water shutoffs and more.  Residents of James Street received water from temporary above-ground pipes from summer until the end of October.

“On hot days, we got hot water from both the hot and cold taps in our sinks,” observed one James Street resident.

Hayes acknowledged the inconvenience to residents in the area.

“They were very patient,” said Hayes. “Construction is tough. It’s dusty and noisy and inconvenient.”

Construction has been extended through December 15th and Hayes is hopeful that the crews will be able to complete their work on Sandybrook Road and James Street in the remaining time.  Temporary paving will be completed to make the roads usable for the winter months, although Hayes cautioned that patches may be required during the winter months. The roads will eventually be repaved completely when the project is completed in the summer of 2013.

The crews will return after the spring thaw to resume work on Hope Street and then will start along Lexington Street to South Bedford Street.

“2011 was a banner year,” said Hayes. “We’ve never had this much work in such a short period of time,” he added.

Hayes was pleased to report that although it was very busy, there were no major issues. On the roster for 2012 is the continuation of the Force Main project, stream cleaning, inflow and infiltration work and the Pine Haven cemetery expansion.