The Moretown Select Board continues to weigh options for constructing a sidewalk or path to connect Gallagher Acres in North Moretown to an existing sidewalk that heads into Waterbury. At a November 6 meeting, board members learned about two possibilities from consultants at DuBois and King, who are putting together a scoping study.
Last June, Emily Lewis and Chris Hunt of DuBois and King held a public meeting where residents living on Gallagher Acres voiced their concerns about being unable to access the Route 100 sidewalk, especially in winter weather. They said that they could not cross the road at the intersection of Route 2 and Route 100.
Lewis and Hunt told the select board that one option is to construct a 5-foot-wide sidewalk adjacent to Route 2. It would have three crosswalks – at Route 100, Mason Drive and Fairground Drive. This option would pose minimal tree clearing and impact to utilities.
The second option, they said, is to construct an 8-to 10-foot-wide shared path – either asphalt or gravel, 5 feet from the road. This project would allow more space for both cyclists and pedestrians, but would come with more impacts than the sidewalk project. It would require temporary construction easements on adjacent properties, as well as the removal of more trees, more grading, and the removal of a fence on Gallagher Acres.
With construction of the path, the town may need to relocate an existing drainage swale that runs adjacent to the roadway at Route 2 and Route 100. It would also occupy the same space as an existing waterline, so that if any work on the waterline was needed in the future, it would require digging up the path, Lewis and Hunt said.
Of the two scenarios, Lewis and Hunt said the sidewalk would be the cheaper option, as the cost per linear foot of construction for the path is slightly higher.
In deciding between the two options, Gallagher Acres residents in attendance at the board meeting said they did not have a preference, but just wanted something in place as soon as possible. “I just want this to happen – whatever makes our neighborhood accessible year-round,” one resident said. “We’re pretty cut off when the snow falls, and it’s just not safe to walk.”
Lewis and Hunt said that they are putting together a survey for residents in which they can select their preference for a sidewalk or path. They are also putting together a full report for the select board, with costs and impacts for each project. The board will make a decision at its November 20 meeting and DuBois and King will create a finalized project design and cost estimate in winter 2024.