POCASSET — A long-awaited proposal to rebuild the busy Four Corners and Wings Neck Road intersections died quickly on Monday, after two key committees deemed the cost too high.
The capital expenditures committee, after a two-hour hearing, voted not to recommend the $1.4 million intersection plan to voters in the Oct. 24 special city meeting “at this time.”
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After the unanimous decision, road manager Shawn Patterson withdrew the application from the finance committee’s review. It can be redirected to the drawing board to create a less expensive and ambitious plan.
Later that evening, the Board of Selectmen withdrew the article about funding the intersection upgrade from the October term.
Would funding for intersections come at the expense of the new fire station?
Capital expenditure members said the proposal was indeed sound, but the timing and cost were wrong. Members Wayne Sampson and Carol Lynch said the funding could jeopardize funding for a south side fire station. The fire station effort was estimated at $13 million plus land acquisition costs involved.
“I’m really struggling to spend $1,347,000 on this (intersection) project,” said John O’Brien, member of capital expenditures. “It seems overdone. This seems to me like an appalling approach which for me is not a real big deal.
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City administrator Marlene McCollem said the cost would be competitive with all other capital proposals. She also said $400,000 would be requested from the state Department of Transportation, but Bourne would still have to borrow the full cost of the project.
“But if the $400,000 is approved, the (intersection) loan will be less than the estimated cost,” she said. “But we can’t guarantee that before the town meeting.”
Capital spending chairman Donald Pickard said the cost of upgrading the Shore Road/Barlows Landing Road intersection and creating a four-way stop is not in the five-year spending plan in capital of Bourne.
Currently, motorists traveling on Shore Road have priority, while traffic on Barlows Landing Road has stop signs.
Residents of Pocasset have narrowed the issues down to a crucial question of what’s more important to the village: an improved intersection or money for a new fire station.
What do the inhabitants of Pocasset say?
Some said villagers and business owners have not had a chance to discuss the busy intersection where traffic gets worse during the summer. St. John the Evangelist Church opposes four way stop signs. Some residents said a new fire station south of the canal should be given priority for funding.
Others said the intersection plan is “overdesigned,” that four-way stop signs are indeed needed, that the intersection should be reduced in width and its crosswalks aligned; and that the only people having trouble with the area are the summer residents.
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There was consensus that motorists on Shore Road in either direction are not slowing down and are likely to be distracted and too often miss major traffic signs, especially those regarding speed limits.
Patterson said the proposal could be narrowed in scope to become less costly. But, he said, if smaller improvements don’t work, larger works at intersections will become much more expensive.
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