Town officials this week are celebrating a $3 million grant from the state’s MassWorks Infrastructure Program toward water and sewer upgrades intended to facilitate current and future economic development along the Middlesex Turnpike corridor.
Planned water and sewer improvements actually are getting underway this fall with 2,500 feet of sewer force main replacement.
“Water line work is already started and will most likely go into next year, as it must be coordinated with the other turnpike road work that is ongoing,” said Bedford Town Manager Sarah Stanton.
“Gravity spot repairs and a pump station are scheduled for next year,” Stanton continued. “The Page Road pump station, sewer force main and gravity main, and the Burlington MWRA (Massachusetts Water Resources Authority) connections will be scheduled in future years.”
Stanton said the price tag for the entire package is projected at $16.9 million, “taking into account current wage and material costs.”
Revenues also earmarked for this project are $2.8 million the town received through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and an additional $500,000 predevelopment grant – matched by private funds — received through MassWorks almost exactly a year ago.
All that represents about 40 percent of the projected total.
“There will likely be a request to Town Meeting for fiscal year 2025 and/or fiscal year 2026 to bridge the gap,” Stanton explained.
Stanton pointed out that “sustaining and growing the Middlesex Turnpike and Crosby Drive corridors are a top priority of the town, and getting the water and sewer infrastructure in place is a key part of that.” The demand for more water and sewer capacity reflects the needs of the life-sciences sector, which is increasingly driving development.
MassWorks, one of the state’s largest competitive grant programs, offers cities and towns flexible capital funding to support and accelerate housing production and job growth. Officials from the administration have said the local grants will support approximately $150 million in private investment for planned biomanufacturing developments.
The Planning Board has been grappling with new state-mandated multi-family zoning requirements and the penalty for non-compliance is loss of eligibility for grants such as MassWorks.
“This particular grant award is not contingent on compliance because that provision of the law is not yet in effect,” Stanton said, noting that might not be the case in the future.
The town manager applauded the interdepartmental team “who worked so hard to lay the groundwork for these upgrades and prepare a successful grant application.” She said preparation of the grant application was handled primarily by Housing and Economic Development Director Jeff King, Department of Public Works Director David Manugian, and Jason Raposa, Mike Sprague, and Rajitha Purimetla at DPW.