NORTH KINGSTOWN — Work on the first phase of the Post Road sewer project is wrapping up, and the temporary repaving of the rugged roadway could begin as early as late August.
The second phase of the project is still in limbo as town officials continue to look for a site to build a pumping station.
Public Works Director Phil Bergeron said the work on Post Road that has drivers stuck in traffic daily is part of a National Grid project to replace a gas main. “All our work under the road is done,” he said Tuesday.
A request to begin repaving the roadway with a temporary overlay is currently being reviewed by the state Department of Transportation. A final repaving of the roadway won’t occur until the second phase of the project is complete; that won’t happen until a location is found for a pumping station.
In January, the Rhode Island State Police denied a request to locate a pumping station on the property of its Wickford Barracks, located at 7875 Post Road.
“Because the Rhode Island State Police is considering selling this property and moving the Wickford Barracks to a new location within the next few years, Col. [Steven] O’Donnell will not allow the easement,” State Police Major Karen D. Pinch wrote in a letter to North Kingstown Police Chief Thomas Mulligan on Jan. 11.
That has delayed the second phase of the project, as officials look for a new pump site.
“We could have been doing work right now,” Bergeron noted.
There are currently two alternative sites that the town is looking at: Smith’s Castle property, at 55 Richard Smith Drive just off Post Road; and a three-quarter-acre parcel owned by the state near the intersection of Stony Lane and Huling Road.
The town would have to purchase the small property from the state; the assessed value is about $80,000, according to Bergeron. If those options don’t pan out, Bergeron said the town would ask the state police to reconsider its decision.
“I guess if everything else falls through, then we have to go back to them,” he said.
In November 2009, voters approved a $10 million bond to fund the installation of sewers along Post Road, with the first phase covering the southern stretch of Post Road from the Route 403 overpass to just south of the West Bay YMCA. The work includes extending sewer service to several residential properties on Camp Avenue.
The first phase consists of a pumping station on Camp Avenue at Tully Way; 4,200 feet of gravity sewer line on Post Road and Camp Avenue; and 3,500 feet of pressurized piping on Camp Avenue. It also includes 1,400 feet of water main improvements on Post Road.
In total, that portion of the project will service 205 commercial acres and 30 residential properties.
In November 2010, voters approved another $9.2 million bond to finance the design and installation of sewers from Dana Drive to the Wickford Barracks, including the Shore Acres neighborhood. This portion of the project will service 105 acres of commercial land and 149 residential properties.
Bergeron said he doesn’t expect the second phase to be started until after the winter.
The Town Council will meet Aug. 5 to discuss the possibility of going to bond for a third phase of the project, and will talk about what portions of town a third phase could cover.
“Do we go north of Route 403? Do we go into Wickford? Ultimately, it’s a council decision,” Bergeron said.
The council also will discuss how to assess the sewer fees to property owners once the sewer system is up and running. “We want to be as fair and equitable to property owners as possible,” Bergeron said.
He added it is important for property owners to be aware of the upcoming discussions and participate in future public hearings.
“They need to know what’s going on,” Bergeron said. “We don’t want them to get an assessment bill and say, ‘We didn’t know anything about this.’”
The Town Council will meet Aug. 5 at 7 p.m. at Beechwood: A Center for Life Enrichment, 44 Beach S