BERLIN — After meeting with State Highway Association (SHA) representatives this month, Berlin Town Administrator Tony Carson informed the Mayor and Council that three sidewalk projects are in the works and expected to begin this autumn.
“We went to get an update on future projects State Highway will be doing in Berlin,” stated Carson.
On the books for a September start will be some much anticipated sidewalk work along Broad Street, followed by William Street and finally Main Street, or Route 818.
All three projects are expected to be completed by next spring. Carson confirmed that all three items have been on the town’s radar for a while, especially William Street and Route 818, which SHA will be heading up.
“We’ve had a dialog with them for a couple of years,” said Carson.
Unlike the other two projects, the work on Broad Street will fall under the purview of the town. Earlier this week, the council agreed to award the contract for the sidewalk work to construction firm Goody Hill. The overall cost of the project is approximately $100,000, down nearly 50 percent from original estimates.
“The engineers estimated $145,000,” revealed Carson.
Carson added that the initial price that came back was $135,000, which was negotiated down to the current $100,000. However, the state has promised to pick up half of the tab and will reimburse Berlin $50,000. The other two endeavors, because they are SHA ventures, won’t cost Berlin anything in terms of funding.
“We’re very thankful and fortunate that [SHA] is doing these projects for us,” said Carson.
Mayor Gee Williams agreed and remarked that the new roadwork will help Berlin continue its focus on addressing stormwater issues in the town.
“Obviously, we can’t fix it with magic,” he said. “It takes money.”
Berlin has to be careful in how it introduces impervious surfaces like new sidewalks, parking lots or roads because doing so recklessly could aggravate flooding problems.
“What we’d be doing is building a dam,” said Williams of unplanned expansion.
However, he was satisfied with the thought and work that has already gone into the new projects, especially the consideration that has been paid to the needs of specific streets.
“We’ll have to apply different engineering solutions to each of these areas,” said Williams.