Construction crews are preparing to begin work next door to Sandwich Town Hall and that means the popular and well-visited water bubbler just outside of the building will be off limits for the next several months.
The age-old, spring-fed bubbler is a popular spot of visitors and residents alike to stop and take a drink and to fill up water jugs. It’s not unusual to see someone filling multiple jugs of water at the site, which is rumored to provide the cleanest, clearest water in the region.
“We plan to close it down on or about October 1,” town manager George H. Dunham said.
The town’s engineer Samuel J.P. Jensen said signs will be going up over the next few weeks alerting residents that the bubbler is going to be closed during construction. “We want to get the signs up sooner rather than later so that residents are informed,” Mr. Jensen said.
The project, which is estimated to cost $336,000, calls for making repairs to the retaining wall there and improving accessibility to the water bubbler located next to the town hall.
Mr. Jensen said that there are structural issues with the retaining wall, which is failing. He said the wall needs to be reinforced and pointed out that if it should fail, it could interfere with the herring run and the ability of the herring to get to the fish ladder that was installed when the old earthen dam between Upper and Lower Shawme Pond was replaced.
“That wall supports the whole plaza there and we need to address that,” he said.
This phase of the project also includes construction of a sidewalk and a small wooden footbridge that will run adjacent to Water Street and lead from town hall to the bubbler, giving pedestrians safer access to the bubbler.
The wooden footbridge will be built by students at the Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School.
Voters approved funding the project with money from the Community Preservation Act last year.
Engineering technician Sean P. Harrington said construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in October. He said right now the project is in the submittal review process and is being reviewed by town department heads.
“If everything works seamlessly, we anticipate that the bulk of the work will be done over the next two months but it could take longer,” Mr. Harrington said.
“We want to get the project completed before the town’s 375th anniversary activities. But there are a number of factors that will come into play, including weather and the availability of subcontractors,” Mr. Jensen said.
Mr. Harrington said he understands that the project is going to create a bit of an inconvenience for residents who use the well, but pointed out that once completed, it will benefit the area overall. “This is going to wrap up the downtown area and improve pedestrian flow there,” he said.