Cranberry Highway conditions are unacceptable, say Selectmen

Aug 12, 2020

The Board of Selectmen voted at their Tuesday night meeting to send an emergency letter to MassDOT and the Onset Fire and Water District to say that the current conditions on Cranberry Highway are unacceptable.

Lumpy temporary patches on the road are “worse than a rollercoaster,” said Selectman Patrick Tropeano, who has received several complaints from local business owners.

Tropeano said he had spent some time on Tuesday observing the work taking place. 

He said that the contractors blocked access to several businesses all day without warning the businesses ahead of time. Additionally, businesses have had their gas cut off for a day with no notice. 

“Each of these businesses are getting hurt big time,” Tropeano said. He said the contractors are not working well with the businesses, and that the temporary patches are very low quality.

“These guys are doing a terrible, terrible job, and doing a terrible disservice to the town,” Tropeano said, adding that the workers were not acting like “reputable contractors.”

Tropeano said that one business owner had even sustained damage to her car after a careless worker put down a section of steel pipe that rolled into her car.

Selectman Peter Teitelbaum said that he almost caught some air driving down the road in his low-slung car, even driving at a reasonable speed, due to the very uneven temporary patchwork.

“If there was every an incentive to go the speed limit on that road, your undercarriage, your transmission, and your springs will thank you,” Teitelbaum said.

MassDOT is renovating Cranberry Highway, and the Onset district is having MassDOT’s contractor simultaneously replace the water pipes that run under the road.

Selectman Alan Slavin said that the state initially wanted the town to take over the responsibility for maintaining Cranberry Highway after the roadwork was complete, but the town managed to negotiate with the state to keep the status quo in place. 

Then, the state said the project would take four years to complete if there was no construction in July and August. 

Slavin said that the town went back to the state, arguing that the businesses on Cranberry Highway would struggle through four years of construction.

The state then agreed to complete the work in two years, but with work taking place during July and August. 

The Onset Fire and Water District contracted with the state to replace the water lines under the road, as the state said no utility work should happen within five years of the road’s replacement.

Currently, Slavin said that the state has agreed to work only Monday through Thursday when possible, but said that the utility work has complicated the state and town’s original agreement.