With Staples High and Bedford Middle Schools closed, it may be a while since you’ve driven on North Avenue.
If you have, you’ve noticed construction underway on a new sidewalk. It parallels the old one, from Long Lots Road north to Cross Highway. But it’s closer to the road, with no grass strip in between.
What’s up with that? several readers wondered.
I asked Peter Ratkiewich. The Public Works director said the new sidewalk will be 5 feet wide, elevated above the road by a 6-inch concrete curb. For the most part, it will run along the edge of the road. In certain areas with obstructions, it will deviate from the road edge.
The old sidewalk — parts of which were over 30 years old — will be removed entirely. That area will be restored with topsoil and seed.
The new construction will facilitate maintenance (including winter, when it must be plowed or shoveled).
This is the same method of construction used all over town. The North Avenue sidewalk will look very similar to the one on Imperial Avenue, built about 6 years ago and hailed by many residents.
North Avenue resident Michael Fleming is not pleased, however. He started a petition asking the town to retain the sidewalk buffers.
In other sidewalk news, Public Works has nearly completed a new sidewalk on Maple Avenue North. They’ll start the Myrtle Avenue project soon.
Ratkiewich is still waiting for word from the state on the Riverside Avenue reconstruction project. It will include some sidewalk replacement.
The Main Street sidewalk project has been submitted to the state for final review. He hopes to have that project underway before fall.
Next year, Ratkiewich hopes to rebuild the Hillspoint Road sidewalk from Old Mill Beach to Greens Farms Road, and the Compo Road South sidewalk from the Post Road to Bridge Street.
The North Avenue project was scheduled before COVID-19. And yes, the lack of traffic has made the work easier.