SCARBOROUGH — The price and scope of a road project originally slated for last summer has increased after the project was reviewed by the ad hoc Pine Point Study Group.
The original project as designed by town engineer Jim Wendel would have improved the infrastructure on a 450-foot section of King Street and Pine Point Road for an estimated cost of $45,000.
After sending Wendel back several times to redesign the plan, the group is now recommending a proposal with an estimated price tag of $170,000.
Appointed by the Town Council to take a closer look at what Wendel last spring called “routine” area road work, the study group met 10 times between September and December of 2008. Members of the group were charged with studying sidewalks, width of pavement, the turning radius from Pine Point Road to King Street, the incorporation of access to open space by Beach Walk, a plan for development of that space and aesthetic rework of the directional island at the end of Pine Point Road.
The town spent $2,400 to hire a professional facilitator Dana Morris-Jones to moderate the group’s meetings.
Although the group included recommendations for most of the study points, no conclusion was reached on the open space and the town does not expect to take any action on it at this time.
During her presentation at last Wednesday’s council meeting, Morris-Jones said, “it was a challenge to stay within the confines of the mandate; sometimes we did and sometimes we didn’t.”
But both Wendel and Public Works Director Mike Shaw said Wednesday they believe the resulting plan improves upon the original.
Wendel said the project could have “gone in a slightly different direction” last spring if there had been more money available. But many of the concerns raised by the group, other than the drainage issue in front of the fire barn on King Street, could have been dealt with later on, he said.
Though he had no hard figures, Wendel said a lot of town employee time was spent working on suggestions and requests from the group.
“I had worked with Public Works staff and the GIS coordinator as well as spending some time myself on preparing sketches and plans to convey some ideas for the road work,” he said. “Then you toss in additional staff time of the assistant planner and the Fire Department member and I think that it’s relatively significant man hours.”
While the meetings were “long and involved,” Wendel said, attending them was for him “a key element for that committee’s activities.
“Otherwise it just becomes what people want as opposed to what is acceptable engineering,” he said.
According to Shaw, the new design does much more to improve drainage, especially in the Engine 4 parking lot and across the street. As in many spots near the ocean, there is little change in elevation which makes it difficult for water to drain, he said. A piping system already exists in the area with what he called an “outfall” that dumps water behind the church and Conroys Garage.
The new proposal would put a partial drain system in two existing dry wells, putting in several catch basins to allow water to flow away from the parking lot.
Shaw is optimistic that cost could come in below the estimate.
“When the economy’s down, prices are good,” he said.
But construction of the project is not automatic. The proposal will be considered as part of the fiscal year 2010 budget.
During the discussion at last Wednesday’s meeting, Town Manager Tom Hall said he is hopeful there could grant funding to offset some of the cost. The council voted unanimously to accept the study.
“As the council liaison, I want to say it was a challenge but it was a disparate committee that came together finally,” Councilor Carol Rancourt said.