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Dangerous road to finally get a facelift

Posted by Ralph Ranalli May 15, 2007 12:35 PM

chestnut street.JPG
Needham resident Ellie Spyropoulos looks over a dangerous stretch of Chestnut Street
(Globe staff photo by Jonathan Wiggs)

NEEDHAM

One of the most dangerous roads in town will finally get a much-needed facelift after a 10-year uphill battle between local and state officials.

Town meeting members voted to authorize $1.3 million to help fix a portion of Chestnut Street running from Marsh Road to the Needham/Dover boundary -- a major artery into town -- that has long been under state jurisdiction.

Needham agreed in 1997 to accept responsibility for the road on the condition that the state complete a $2.4 million reconstruction. The Massachusetts Highway Department failed to fulfill its end of the bargain until this year, said Selectmen John H. Cogswell who presented the article item to a recent Town Meeting.

The construction now is estimated to cost $3.7 million, of which the state agreed to contribute the original $2.4 million. Before the vote, Town Meeting member Paul Siegenthaler criticized local officials for not doing more to get the state to pick up more of the costs.

“Why would we let the state off the hook here? It doesn’t make any sense here,” he said.

Cogswell, however, defended the deal as the best that could be achieved. “We finally have a commitment from the state after fighting for 10 years,” he said.

-- Lauren K. Meade

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