Mashpee Route 151

Vehicles travel along Route 151 in Mashpee.

A project to improve Route 151 in Mashpee will occur in two phases in order to make use of available state funding while also accommodating future plans to lay sewer pipe under part of the roadway.

The selectmen in a unanimous vote on Monday, July 27 approved a change to the scope of the project to include only the 1.1-mile stretch from the Mashpee rotary up to and including the Old Barnstable Road intersection in the first phase of the project.

The first phase would be completed using state funds available through the Cape Cod Transportation Improvement Program, which has allocated $21 million for the project, and plans to go to bid within the current fiscal year.

The remaining 1.1-mile stretch from the Old Barnstable Road intersection to the Falmouth town line would be included in a second phase to allow time to design a sewer system so piping could be installed at the time of the roadway improvements.

The selectmen voted to split the project into two phases at the recommendation of Mashpee Director of Public Works Catherine E. Laurent after initial plans to improve the entire 2.2-mile stretch came in $11 million over budget.

Ms. Laurent told the selectmen in June that the project would require a reduction in scope or additional funding sources in order to fit within the confines of the $21 million made available through the TIP.

At the time, selectman Andrew R. Gottlieb suggested including sewer pipe under the roadway during the project. The sewer pipe—already called for in the town’s long-term wastewater management plans—could qualify the town for zero-percent interest loans for the project, Mr. Gottlieb said.

Ms. Laurent noted the amount of time that it would take to draw up plans to include the sewer pipe. She said that such a delay could interrupt the funding through the TIP, which had already locked the plan into a Fiscal Year 2021 funding cycle.

After conversations with the sewer commission and the town’s wastewater consultants, the two-phase plan was devised.

“The solution we came up with is to phase the project,” Ms. Laurent told the selectmen on Monday. “The only uncertainty is where phase two would fit in the future for the TIP.”

The area requiring sewer pipe, Mr. Gottlieb said, “starts basically at the high school, comes out to Old Barnstable Road there and then goes west down to James Circle and then up north into that area.”

Therefore, by completing the section of Route 151 up to and including the Old Barnstable Road intersection with the $21 million available through TIP, the town can hold off on the area requiring sewer pipes while still meeting the state’s timetable for the improvement project.

“We’re shrinking the footprint of the project into the budget that the state has made available,” Mr. Gottlieb said. “So, if we did that the project can proceed to bid this winter, begin construction next year, won’t cost the Town of Mashpee a dime and we won’t have foregone any of our options on sewer.”

Town Meeting in October could then be presented with an article to fund the design of a sewer system under Route 151 and the second phase of the roadway improvement project could begin to seek funding with sewer designs in hand, he said.

The first phase of the project includes plans for pedestrian and bicycle paths; dedicated left, through, and right turn lanes to both sides of Old Barnstable Road; replacing the Market Street intersection traffic signal with a new signal, and adding a dedicated right turn lane to turn onto Jobs Fishing Road.

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