You Ask, Patch Answers is a weekly column for Melrosians who have questions about something they've spotted around the city or wondered about. Submit your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sean asked, "Back a few weeks ago John Scenna from DPW alluded to the fact that the Lebanon Street Reconstruction Project has been in design since 1995. [Seventeen] years later, the whole road is really starting to deteriorate. How about a story on why it's taking so long, And if/what the plans are to break ground (hopefully in the near future!)?"
Scenna, the director, told Melrose Patch in an email that the city received confirmation this month that they are included in the state's Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and scheduled for Lebanon Street project bidding in the first quarter of fiscal 2014, which translates to fall of next year.
Design for the Lebanon Street reconstruction project is nearing completion, Scenna added, and there's the possibility that a project from another community could fall behind schedule.
"If so, we would move up in the line," he said. "Our Engineering Division will continue to work diligently so that if the opportunity to move up is presented, we will be ready."
According to documents on the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) website, the project targets intersection and signal improvements on Lebanon Street from the Main Street intersection to Lynde Street.
The project would cost approximately $3.8 million, with funding coming from the Federal Highway Administration's "Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program." Federal funding would total 80 percent of the project's cost, a little over $3 million.
As for the long wait, Scenna said that although an application for Melrose's entire TIP program was submitted in 1995—which included Main Street improvements now completed—the city only received approval to proceed with detailed design work in 2003.
Prior to that, Lebanon Street project work included preliminary survey, signal inventory and traffic counts, while the Main Street portion of the program was in the last phases of design and began construction.
"It is not uncommon for these projects to take a while," Scenna said. "There are several steps involved, multiple federal transportation department guidelines and many layers of MassDOT review that the project is subject to ... With the Lebanon piece, we are currently on our last pre-construction phase which is referred to as the '100 Percent Plan, Specification and Estimate Review.' Once this phase is complete, the project goes to bid."
If you've got a question about something in Melrose, send it to email@example.com. We'll choose one question each week and get to work on digging up an answer.