Multi-Pronged Turnpike Infrastructure Works Advancing

January 31, 2023

Infrastructure improvements along the Middlesex Turnpike corridor continue to unfold in preparation for what officials hope will be a burgeoning biomedical sector.

A water main upgrade is on target for completion by the end of the year, said Bedford Department of Public Works Director David Manugian. And earlier this month, the Conservation Commission approved a variance that will allow expansion of the sewer pumping station near the Shawsheen River.

Meanwhile, the state-funded roadway widening that began more than 30 years ago in Burlington continues north of Crosby Drive into Billerica. Manugian said he hopes that work can finally conclude this year. 

More than $7 million of the water and sewer project costs have already been committed by state, federal, and private sources, Manugian said. “The town has worked with many partners to secure a variety of non-municipal funds.” 

Life-science firms “have unique infrastructure needs and we’re improving our systems to accommodate these needs,” Manugian stated.

The sewer project is in three pieces: a gravity-powered main from the Bedford Woods office park south to the pumping station; expansion of the pump station capacity; and upgrade of a force main along Crosby Drive and Route 62 to another pump on Page Road, connecting to the town’s main disposal system.

Neither sewer main project involves a complete replacement of the existing line, Manugian said. The first improvement will employ a technique called “pipe bursting,” expanding only selected sections of the pipe. A sewer main is not always a straight line; there are turns and entry points and other potential bottlenecks, Manugian explained.

Completion of the sewer improvements could be as long as three years away, he predicted.

The long-standing work on the street itself “involves widening the roadway from two lanes to four, but it also includes related improvements to intersections, traffic signals, and infrastructure such as water, sewer, and electric,” Manugian said.

“A large part of the time is addressing environmental concerns as they happen,” Manugian noted. “Our staff meets every two weeks with the state Department of Transportation and the contractor.”

At a recent Conservation Commission hearing, Michael Sprague, DPW engineer, said the time frame for the pump station project is May through August.

Kristin Dowdy, the DPW’s environmental engineer, told the commission that plans call for expanding the existing paved driveway to provide access to the adjacent expanded area.

“This a limited project for a public utility and requires a variance from the local bylaw for the portion of the work within the 25-foot buffer” from wetlands, Dowdy explained. “This station is in need of an upgrade for capacity reasons and the work in the 25-foot buffer is unavoidable.”

“We will have to install temporary bypass pumps while we take the pumps offline” for the expansion work, Dowdy said, adding, “We are trying to do as much work as we can outside of the resource area.” 

Sprague told the commission that current capacity is 700,000 gallons per day. “Based on projections we need to increase to just under one million gallons per day.” 

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