Members of a committee formed by selectmen to advise them on a project to widen part of Newbury Neck Road took tape measures on a field trip this past week.
Fire Chief Mike Locke had advised the committee at a September 17 meeting that 18 feet, with a two-foot shoulder on each side, was the minimum width needed for emergency and town vehicles to pass safely on the road.
At its narrowest point, near Pondy Lane, the road width varies from 14 to 16 feet, and at Bonsey Lane, it measures 14.6 feet, according to Locke.
Committee members, most of whom are residents of Newbury Neck Road, were concerned that existing trees and bushes would be uprooted if the road was widened, and that vehicle speeds would increase.
“We re-measured the existing road width,” said Chairman John Vickery in a recent telephone call. He, Road Commissioner Stanley Saunders and committee member Ron Poitras discovered that “by pruning the hydrangea bushes and cedar trees, we believe we can fit 18 feet, with two-foot shoulders.” The result would be “a road that would be a standard rural road,” Vickery said.
On one side of the road, there’s “no water table issue” he said, so no drainage ditch would be needed. On the water side, clay would be removed before building a new gravel foundation and compacting the surface.
Vickery said the committee would make its recommendations to the selectmen, who will ultimately decide on how the project moves forward.