From Ken Gordon: About the Salt Shed

December 18, 2014

Submitted by State Representative Ken Gordon

Ken-Gordon-letterheadTo my constituents:

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (“MassDOT”) has recently announced plans to construct a salt storage facility on land owned by MassDOT off Burlington Road in Bedford, alongside the intersection with Route 3.  Many of us are concerned with the potential environmental impact as well as other issues raised by this plan.

Since MassDOT informed me of its plan to sell the property where the existing salt shed is located on Crosby Drive and build a new facility elsewhere, I have been in close communication with MassDOT.  I attended the informational meeting that was conducted at Bedford’s Town Hall in late October. When I learned that many residents did not receive adequate notice, I arranged for a second meeting. That meeting will take place at the multi-purpose room at Bedford Town Hall at 7 p.m.. on January 15, 2015.

MassDOT will bring representatives who will be prepared to discuss the design and construction of the project. This will include excavation, traffic, construction, landscaping, noise, environment, operations and other issues. Bedford residents will be able to attend and participate in a full and open discussion. I encourage all concerned residents to attend the meeting and make your opinions heard.

In my discussions with MassDOT, I have stressed that any plan to build a new salt storage shed must obtain all necessary approvals from the appropriate Bedford town committees, such as the Conservation Commission and the Board of Health.  MassDOT is subject to the same scrutiny as any other land owner regarding issues of the environment, health or wetlands. I sought and obtained MassDOT’s assurance that it will appear before the necessary town boards to obtain any needed approvals.  As a result, Bedford will be able to use established town procedures to protect itself from any environmental, health, or public nuisance impact.

I have also discussed with MassDOT alternatives to the proposed location. This has come about in the context of my overall conversations about resolving the frustrations regarding the salt shed on Grant Avenue in Burlington.   In all my discussions with MassDOT I have advocated for the best interests of the district, and will continue to do so. I will keep you informed of all progress and developments.

Please feel free to contact me with any additional questions or concerns.

Kenneth Gordon

State Representative, 21st Middlesex District

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December 18, 2014 6:15 pm

“I have stressed that any plan to build a new salt storage shed must
obtain all necessary approvals from the appropriate Bedford town
committees”: what a relief that we have a state rep who can tell the DOT to do things they were going to do anyway.

Put yourself in MassDOT’s shoes. You’ve built facilities before, you know the procedures and the rules, but this politician comes up to you and lectures you on them. He’s trying to teach you your own business. But of course, you have to treat the guy with respect. It’s a Dilbert moment.

December 19, 2014 9:51 pm

Yeah, I mean it’s not like they already have a maintenance facility and salt sheds a couple hundred feet to the east of the proposed site… oh, wait, they do.

December 20, 2014 7:35 am

I’ll drop the sarcasm and try to be clearer: MassDOT already has a maintenance facility in an industrial area on the other side of Rt.3. Why on Earth are they proposing the sell it as “surplus property” which, given that they’re using it, it’s clearly not and then build a new one abutting a residential area and next to a stream which is almost certainly going to contaminated with salt and other chemicals (see, for example, Boxford’s experience). On the face of it, building a new shed in the proposed location looks like a really, really bad idea. It’ll be interesting to hear DOT’s rationale for proposing what they are. (Why not renovate the existing facility or, if that’s not feasible, build the new facility in an industrial zone away from environmentally sensitive areas?)

Joel Parks
December 21, 2014 8:58 pm

now I’m with you, thanks for clarifying. I think your questions should be answered, and the answers should be examined before the existing facility is made available for any deal.

Joel Parks
December 19, 2014 2:40 pm

with all due respect, I think it is perfectly reasonable and prudent to stay on top of MassDOT on this. While I appreciate that the agency has come a long way and has a tendency to try to do the right thing, it is also a large bureaucracy and sometimes stuff goes wrong.

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