Michels Way will be opening to the public at last. The new road connecting the Woodmont Commons shopping plaza to Pillsbury Road was originally scheduled to open the week of Nov. 1, according to its developer. However, it hit some snags that forced the Planning Board to consider a waiver at its Nov. 8 meeting.
Jeff Kevan is a civil engineer for TF Moran and spoke on behalf of the developer. “Our goal was to try to get the road open to try to alleviate some of the traffic during the Thanksgiving holiday time period,” he said. Currently, the agreement the developer had with the Planning Board was to have all parts of the road completed, along with landscaping before it was opened to the public. Right now, the landscaping is not done and road is missing a 1.5 inch “wearing course,” which is the top coat of pavement.
John Trottier P.E. from the Londonderry Department of Public Works explained that Kevan is seeking a waiver to open the road since regulations say that all site improvements must be completed prior to it opening. The only usual exception would be the landscaping. Trottier told the board that the plan is to finish construction while drivers use the road to access the shopping plaza. It would be missing the wearing course and pavement marking until the spring construction season starts next year.
Right now, drivers on Pillsbury Road are blocked from accessing Michels Way by large orange and white striped barrels. By opening the road now, it would allow the developer to begin a traffic study of the area. “The owner can start to monitor traffic flow in the areas required under the 2016 conditions of approval,” said Trottier.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Town Councilor Jim Butler. “There’s been a lot of infrastructure that people don’t see when it comes to drainage, electrical, water, sewer and it is a lot of money up front.” Butler went on to say that it would be better for the road to settle over the winter before the developer investing in putting on the wearing course and the pavement marking.
Planning Board member Leitha Reilly has concerns about safety. Kevan said there wasn’t anything to worry about and that the planned sidewalks would be extended as time goes on down to the shopping center and up from Garden Lane.
Kevan also projected that the power lines would be finished in the spring as well. To do this, however, parts of Michels Way will be closed periodically to allow for the laying of the lines.
There was discussion of the roundabout planned for the area, with Ann Chiampa expressing concerns about if the area will be labeled clearly enough for drivers to anticipate the circle’s potential traffic backups. Kevan said there would not be stop signs for that spot, but there would be adequate warnings for drivers.
Chairman Art Rugg said that opening up the road now “will give us a handle on future planning” for the area.
Michels Way is not a public road, so the town will not be responsible for its upkeep. Town Planner Colleen Mailloux said, “under site plan approval, these are all private roads internally and would not be accepted as public roads.” Any and all maintenance of the roads within the Woodmont development would be the responsibility of the developer.
Kevan said Michels Way is scheduled to open, “the week before Thanksgiving.”