As predicted, decorative lights topple in Chepachet

As predicted, decorative lights topple in Chepachet

GLOCESTER - We told you so.

That is what town officials have to say to the state Department of Transportation now that two of the new period-lighting poles in Chepachet have either been broken or knocked down, just weeks after they were installed as part of a $5.1 million landscape improvement project.

Jean M. Fecteau, town clerk, forwarded to The Valley Breeze & Observer photos that show the sorry state of the fancy street lamps, sent at the request she said of a town resident and council member, George O. "Buster" Steere Jr.

One of the broken lamps is in front of Town Hall.

"As the project progressed, the town residents, businessmen and government saw different things that didn't seem just right," Fecteau said. "One of those was the installation of this lighting within inches of the edge of the road."

She noted that Route 44, Putnam Pike, also seemed more narrow after the project began in August, a change that was not part of the original plan.

"We felt as though the lights would be knocked down as this route is a main artery, many trucks pass through the town," Fecteau said. "We were especially concerned that, once it snowed, snow plows would hit the lights."

The long-time town clerk and the Town Council members are worried because, Fecteau noted, the town will be responsible for the maintenance and operation of the lights once the project is completed, and they do not want the town to be liable for replacing the fancy light poles. The attractive lamps, similar to those that grace the town common and gazebo area in North Scituate, resemble Victorian gas-lights, with lantern-like features. They have not been lit yet.

Fecteau said town officials informed DOT of their concerns, to no avail. "As we saw the first light go up, we told the state it was too close (to the edge of the sidewalk) and the blade of a snow plow would take the light down," she told The Valley Breeze & Observer. She said she does know who put up the "we told you so" sign near the smashed lamp.

The DOT's response was to request a formal letter from the Town Council explaining the problem. "We don't want to have to pay for lights down every time there is a snow storm," Fecteau said.

Attempts to contact the state Department of Transportation were not successful as of press time. The new lamps are part of an ongoing DOT project being done by D'Ambra Construction Inc., of Warwick, which also includes repaving Route 44, installation of picturesque brick sidewalks, drainage and curbing improvements in one of the state's most historic villages. Completion is expected by the end of the year.


Isn't (at least) part of the reason that they are so close to the edge of the road an allowance for adequate sidewalk width for ADA standards?