Plaistow has money to spend on intersection
PLAISTOW - Thanks to a grant that helps pay for road improvements near schools, the town may be able to begin work on the intersection of Main and Elm streets late next summer.
With matching funds that were approved by selectmen earlier this year, the town now has more than $300,000 to apply toward pedestrian safety measures at the intersection.
The improvements are just a small part of overall traffic improvements to the length of Main Street that town administrators, selectmen and the Planning Board are working on.
"We were successful in getting the Safe Routes to School grant," said Planning Board member Tim Moore. "We have the money to improve the intersection at Elm Street and Main Street. That includes the installation of sidewalks and the repair of some that are in need."
The work will also include crosswalks and improvements to the intersection itself.
Once the town gets the final letter from the state to proceed, Moore said the next step will be to finish up preliminary engineering design for the project, then put the project out to bid for final design and construction.
Optimistically, Moore said the project could go out to bid in the early winter, followed by the final design and public hearing process, with construction starting in the late summer or early fall of 2014.
As that project comes closer to becoming a reality, Moore said the Planning Board and selectmen will be working together on longer-term solutions to traffic issues on Main Street and throughout the town.
To achieve some of those goals, the Planning Board has been looking at policy changes within the town's master plan that cover areas such as traffic education, enforcement and speed limits.
Selectmen Chairman Robert Gray noted that selectmen serve as the town's road agents, and that his board and the Planning Board will have to work together if any of the master plan changes are to become a reality.
"We can make a lot of recommendations and put them in the master plan, but if we don't work together, it will just be a plan where nothing comes of it," said Gray.
Gray also said that while the Planning Board has made some recommendations for areas it sees as a high priority for improvements, selectmen have taken no action on those recommendations.
Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said the goal of the Planning Board recommendations is to help with long-term planning.
"We want to focus our lens to help prioritize some of our efforts," said Fitzgerald. "It will help us look carefully at state and federal funds that might be available."