Board Okays Contract for State- and Federally-Funded Sewer Project

April 24, 2024
A contract was signed for installation of 7,870 feet of sewer force main from the pumping station on Middlesex Turnpike to a pumping station near Page Road.  Staff photo by Wayne Braverman

The town has engaged a contractor to undertake the last portion of the three-phase sewer infrastructure expansion intended to accommodate the needs of the growing life-sciences sector along the Middlesex Turnpike-Crosby Drive corridor.

Last week on Tuesday, the Bedford Select Board approved a $4,195,181 agreement with C. Naughton Corp. of Bridgewater, which submitted the lowest of eight bids received. The entire amount is covered by state and federal funds.

The contract calls for installation of 7,870 feet of sewer force main from the pumping station on Middlesex Turnpike, beneath the entire length of Crosby Drive, and under Burlington Road to a connection with existing lines leading to a pumping station near Page Road. 

The ultimate destination is the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority treatment plant on Deer Island in outer Boston Harbor.

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Director of Public Works David Manugian said later in the week that the start date will be scheduled soon. According to the contract, completion is required within 310 days after starting.

A force main is a conduit through which wastewater is pumped, as opposed to a gravity main, which flows naturally. 

The first phase of the sewer system expansion was a larger gravity line on the turnpike, followed by an upgrade of the pump station, which is near the south bank of the Shawsheen River.

Bedford taxpayers will not directly pay for any of the project. Two infrastructure grants from MassWorks totaling $3,648,455.68 will cover the bulk of the cost. MassWorks is a state competitive grant program to fund public infrastructure projects that encourage private development and job creation.

The balance, totaling $546,725.32, will be covered by money the town received through the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the grant program intended to help spark economic recovery from the pandemic.

The town received about $4 million in ARPA funds, which can only be used for certain categories of infrastructure, replacement of revenue lost due to the pandemic, or in response to a public health emergency. In June 2022 the Select Board agreed to spend $150,000 in ARPA money to match a counter offer and secure the purchase of 139 The Great Road as the site for a fire station.

ARPA funds are administered by the town manager, in consultation with the superintendent of schools and department heads. They don’t require spending authorization.

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