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Newton Centre roadwork won't be reversed immediately

Posted by Leslie Anderson  July 26, 2013 02:26 PM

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Drivers will have to suffer through at least three more weeks of crawling traffic in Newton Centre before the city can begin undoing construction that has caused backups and headaches at the intersection of Parker and Cypress Streets at Centre Street.

Commissioner of Public Works David Turocy had initially estimated that the intersection would be back to its original configuration as early as the beginning of August, but Board of Aldermen Vice President Cheryl Lappin said Thursday that the work requires a vote by the board, scheduled for Aug. 14.

“I hope we get this cleared up before school starts,” said Lappin.

The intersection has long been a trouble spot, and was being remodeled as part of a $1.8 million contract from the state that included work on two other intersections as well as street paving.

The city narrowed lanes in the intersection and added a stop sign in hopes that traffic would move more smoothly and pedestrians would be able to cross more safely, but found instead that the congestion was only worsened.

Turocy said last week that he decided to reverse course before the intersection was paved. The intersection is heavily used by parents dropping off students at Bowen, Brown and Oak Hill schools, and he was concerned about traffic flow once school starts.

Lappin said that the board of aldermen will vote on whether to redo the intersection on Aug. 14. Selectmen will also consider attaching an emergency preamble that would allow work to begin right away, instead of waiting for the 20-day appeal period to run out. Two thirds of the board are required to approve the preamble.

Construction itself will take about two weeks, Turocy said. He said he is hoping to have the work done by the end of August.

In the meantime, Turocy said, the city plans to pave the intersection on Friday night, which will at least make the ride less bumpy. Temporary lines will be painted, he said.

The city originally intended to pay for the reversed construction with excess left over from the state contract, but Turocy said the state would not approve that use.

Instead, he said, Department of Public Works employees will do the work. Their labor is already within the city budget, Turocy said, and funds for the materials – mainly concrete and asphalt – will come out of the operational budget.

Turocy said he did not know how much the work would cost. The excess left over from the state contract, he said, will simply go back to the state.

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com.

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