Causeway could jump ahead with new scheduling

By Angie Hilsman | Dec 05, 2016
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch Town officials toured the progress of the Padanaram Causeway on October 3.

The $8.2 million Padanaram Causeway Rehabilitation project will face another scheduling change, but this one may actually make residents happy.

According to Select Board Chair Stanley Mickelson, the causeway contractor now has all its permitting to go forward with the project, and workers will chip away at the project through the winter.

Originally, the project was set to pause in early December and start again in spring, said Mickelson. However, after Michelson worked with state officials — including Anthony Veilleux, director of government affairs for the state Department of Environmental Protection — the contractor was allowed to continue work through the winter season, weather permitting.

The original hiatus was due to "the spawning of some cod," said Mickelson, but explained that because the contractors have made preventative measures to protect the fish, they will be able to proceed with construction.

"Let's pray we have a winter like we had last year," said Mickelson.

The good news follows an unexpected delay announced last month due to foundation problems. Project leaders, through the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, determined that there was no footing to stabilize the stone wall replacement, so both had to be rebuilt.

"The whole side of the wall is collapsing. That's the issue," explained Mickelson in the previous announcement. Select Board members had predicted that the setback could take a couple of months to fix. It is still unclear if that issue will require budgeting adjustments.

Currently, the eastern edge of Apponagansett Park to the Padanaram Bridge and Smith Neck Road from Gulf Road southerly 550 feet are inaccessible to road traffic. Smith Neck Road was originally scheduled to be open by January 2017, but following the setback and most recent news, it is now unclear when Smith Neck will reopen.

The causeway has been permanently closed since August 1, and will not reopen until the project is done. The finish date was originally projected for June 2018.

The project includes rebuilding stone walls and railings, drainage improvements, and adding two small culverts, according to MassDOT.

The general contractor is John Rocchio Corporation from Smithfield, Rhode Island.

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