05/14/2009

By Lisa Loomis

Sidewalks for Waitsfield, 15-plus years in the planning, came two steps closer to reality when the select board approved a contract amendment and a new right-of-way alignment.

The $1,451,000 project has been in the planning phases in 1995 (although an earlier version, not aligned with Route 100, was explored starting in 1987). The town has a 10 percent share in the cost and has paid $20,442 towards its projected $145,000 share. 

The select board, on April 27, approved a contract amendment increasing the hourly rate of the municipal project manager from $43 to $50 an hour and also approved a revised alignment plan for the sidewalk.

EAST SIDE/WEST SIDE

The sidewalk will run from the Waitsfield Elementary School to Bragg Hill. It will run on the east side of Route 100 until the middle entrance to the Mad River Green Shopping Center. From there it will be on the west side of the shopping center.

During construction, the project will required construction rights of way from 25 of the 42 property owners along the route. Permanent rights of way will be required from four property owners along the route. One crosswalk is planned for the sidewalk, where it shifts from the east to the west side of Route 100.

REPAVING AND WATER PROJECT

Work on the project will be coordinated with Waitsfield's municipal water project, with both projects being constructed in 2010. The Vermont Agency of Transportation is repaving Route 100 from Waitsfield to Warren in 2011.

Going forward negotiating with landowners for temporary and permanents rights of way will get underway this summer. Municipal project manager Kevin Russell, who appeared before the select board on April 27, proposed holding a joint property owner meeting with all affected property owners to explain the process. Russell also suggested that the town hire an appraiser to assess some of the properties where rights of way are needed.

A state highway access permit is required for the project as well as right-of-way clearance from the Agency of Transportation.

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