Included in the town manager’s report portion of the May 28 Select Board meeting was the news that the cost of the Main Street corridor project had gone up. Since the submittal of the 75 percent design plan to MassDOT in March, the increase in cost is estimated at $1 million.
According to Town Manager Norman Khumalo, the 75 percent design incorporated feedback from a public hearing held in January of 2018. In addition, the town also had meetings with utility companies with regard to what they would require of the project.
“Consequently, and also with the passage of time, the cost of the project has gone up,” Khumalo said. “Up until last week our assumption was that since this project is already on the TIP [Transportation Improvement Program] and the items that are contributing to the increase in cost are considered ‘participatory items.’ … Therefore our anticipation was that MassDOT and the MPO [Metropolitan Planning Organization] and the state would fund the increase in costs.”
But contrary to that expectation, Khumalo said he recently learned that the town would have to advocate for the additional funding and to that end had sent letters to the MPO as well as to state Sen. Karen Spilka and state Rep. Carolyn Dykema alerting them of the need.
Contributing to the increased cost were changes in design made by MassDOT that expanded the scope of the project over the last few months, as well as the increasing costs of the items included in the project and requests from utility companies. Khumalo stressed again, however, that these items are considered participatory, or in other words they are funded by the state and the grant.
An example of one change made by MassDOT since the 75 percent plan submittal was that the project extend further down on Wood Street.
“We are going back to MassDOT and ask them to reconsider that decision,” Khumalo told the board.
The meeting with the Boston Region MPO took place on May 30, and the additional funding was not approved. In an update provided to the Hopkinton Independent by Khumalo, he said, “[The MPO] understands that the town and MassDOT will continue to look for this additional funding, including applying for a MassWorks grant, and to review opportunities to value engineer the project — that is, eliminate some project elements to reduce the cost of the project. We are hoping for a repeat of the library grant process, in which some projects came off the state library grant list, making funds available for the Hopkinton library project sooner rather than later.”
Khumalo also confirmed the reason for the increase in project costs: 1) project limits and elements have been increased at the request of MassDOT, utility companies and the town, and 2) general construction costs have increased.
For more information about the Main Street corridor project, visit the town’s website at drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0BxFfd0aRbNooejh5dDhET3ZVblk.