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So What's With All The Orange Barrels On Route 38?

Oct 09, 2014 04:53PM ● By Bill Gilman

These barrels along Route 38 mark where work is being done on one of 112 handicapped sidewalk ramps.

A major initiative of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has Route 38 in Tewksbury awash with hundreds of orange barrels.
The barrels are marking work being done (or soon to be done) on ramps that make Route 38 sidewalks handicapped accessible.
According to Mark Kratman of Tewksbury, an assistant operations engineer with District 4 of the DOT, there have been 112 locations along Main Street that the state has identified either has not having ramps at all or as having ramps in need of upgrades.
"These are ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) improvements at various locations," said Kratman. "The improvements are being done to meet the standards of what the Federal Government calls for for handicapped ramps."
One of the improvements being added to each ramp is a rippled, metal mat. This not only is beneficial for wheelchairs, in terms of traction, it also helps blind walkers to identify when they are coming to the edge of the sidewalk.
Drainage and curbing is also being replaced or upgraded, as needed, in some areas.
According to Kratman, the Tewksbury work is part of a $2,152,000 work order for 62 cities and towns in District 4. And the District 4 work is part of a bigger, statewide ADA improvements project.
"The $2.1 million won't be enough to pay for the work in all 62 towns," said Kratman. "We'll use that money and then they will need to approve another contract."
Whatever the final cost turns out to be, 80 percent will be reimbursed by the Federal Government because the work falls under the ADA.
The "Notice To Proceed" on this project came through in November 2013 and work began this past spring.
In Tewksbury, the process of identifying ramps in need of improvement began in August and work began about two weeks ago. Kratman said the hope is that the work in Tewksbury will be completed by November 15, the official end of the construction season. He said a lot will depend on the weather between now and then.

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