METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – A $1.65 million MassWorks grant announced last week will help the city put a new face on a main thoroughfare in the southwest section of the city, which has seen a recent spate of business growth.
The grant was awarded through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program. Gov. Deval Patrick announced the grant during a trip to MetroWest last week.
The grant will help pay for a redesign and reconstruction of Simarano Drive, a road that runs through the city’s industrial area and connects it with Interstate 495.
The area is home to several businesses and home to several businesses coming into the city, such as TJX Companies and Quest Diagnostics. Quest, which Patrick toured during his trip to the region on Tuesday, is part of a large, mixed-use development proposed by Atlantic Management at the former Hewlett Packard site that marries office space, apartments, hotels, restaurants and other uses.
The grant will help pay for the approximately $3 million Simarano Drive project, which aims to totally overhaul the street, said Michael Berry, executive aide to Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant. After the city’s grant application for the project was denied last year, Berry said city officials were thrilled this year to find out about the award.
“We were really excited with the opportunity and what we thought would be a huge boost to all the private investment going on in the southwest quadrant,” Berry said on Wednesday. “When you drive down that street, it’s not immediately apparent what an important part, what a huge part that road plays in the local economy.”
Berry said the project calls for a full-depth reconstruction of the roadway, along with the additions of sidewalks, curbing and bike lanes along the mile length of Simarano Drive. There will also be landscaping improvements along the roadway, as well as new signs and traffic signals, he said.
Berry said that Atlantic Management will be contributing $30,000 to the city’s design costs. He estimated the city’s share of the cost of the project to be about $1.2 million to $1.25 million. The City Council approved bond money to pay for the entire project and will use the leftover bond money not needed because of the grant on other road projects.
Construction is expected to begin in March or April, with the project wrapping up by the end of spring 2015.
Patrick said in a statement last week that the project is a good example of government in concert with business.
“We are here to celebrate a wonderful public-private partnership,” he said. “It’s about a little bit of state money, about $1.6 million, leveraging a huge amount of private investment and lots of new jobs. It’s helping to really establish a whole new neighborhood here in Marlborough, and I am proud to be a part of it.”
Vigeant said in a statement that he is looking forward to the project getting underway.
“I can’t wait to get started on Simarano Drive and just completely redo the area,” he said. “This state grant gives us an opportunity to use the excess money from the city-approved bond to improve other streets in the city.”
This story originally appeared here.