October 28 2015

Selectmen and DPW Discuss Sidewalk Repairs and Different-Priced Alternatives

By: Rich Hosford

The Burlington Board of Selectmen held a discussion on the best approach to take with future sidewalk projects in town. 


Department of Public Works Director John Sanchez said the town is preparing to work on the Bedford Street sidewalks and there are two options, pavement or concrete with granite curbing. 


Town Administrator John Petrin said that the DPW has been operating under the guidline of replacing as-is, meaning that if a sidewalk is concrete it gets replaced by concrete. He said there are sections of Bedford Road, however, that are currently pavement but many people would like to see it transitioned to concrete with granite curbing. 


Concrete with granite curbing looks better, everyone acknowledged, and has better definition between the sidewalk and the street. The issue, however, is that it is much more expensive. 


Sanchez said concrete and granite costs about $85 per foot while pavement runs at about $30 per foot. 


In total Burlington has about 50 miles of sidewalks, meaning that if the town wanted to make them all concrete with granite curbing as they are fixed and replaced, it would cost about $22 million. Nobody is suggesting that, but Sanchez highlighted that number to show that sidewalk work is expensive. He said it is more costly than road repair. 


Still, Town Meeting showed support for sidewalk repair. When it set the budget this year it raised a $50,000 request from the DPW for sidwewalk projects to $100,000. 


Town Meeting member Shari Ellis of Precinct 3 was also part of the discussion at the meeting. She said she would prefer the use of concrete as much as possible moving forward because it lasts longer and because the distinction between sidewalks and roads is more visible, thus making it safer. 


Ellis also suggested prioritizing sidewalks like the town does with roads – create a list of what most urgently needs to be done and tackle them in that order. 


The board agreed to discuss this further in the future. 

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