A major “hurdle” looms for a sweeping reconstruction of Atlantic Avenue, from Nantasket Avenue to the Cohasset town line, Town Manager Philip Lemnios said this week, as the $8 million rehab project enters the environmental permitting stage.
That review process for the 1.3-mile project is extensive because of the roadway’s proximity to the Straits Pond Area of Critical Environmental Concern, as it is known, and to the ocean on the other side.
The Board of Selectmen this week moved to refer the street layout plan to the Planning Board for its comments, as required by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. The plan would then go before the selectmen during a public meeting, when residents and other interested parties would have an opportunity to ask questions and voice any concerns. The project is in the final design stages.
“There are some small changes planned in order to conform with state and federal Department of Transportation requirements and to enhance the safety of the road, which has a number of twists and turns,” Lemnios told the selectmen.
“Overcoming the environmental permitting hurdle is a big [issue] and will determine whether the project will proceed along the proposed timeline,” Lemnios said. The targeted completion date, depending on the length and outcome of the permitting process, is Fall 2023.
Construction funding is available through a combination of state and federal dollars. The town is responsible for all costs associated with the design, environmental permitting, and right-of-way acquisition for the project.
The plan addresses deteriorated infrastructure along the roadway, including poor pavement condition, old storm-water drainage systems, a substandard guardrail, a lack of pedestrian and bicycle accommodations, and other problems.
Roadway reconstruction, new sidewalks with granite curbing, new wheelchair ramps, and drainage, utility, and safety improvements are all part of the plan.