Mattapoisett roadway plan would impact 26 roadside trees

Oct 25, 2023

MATTAPOISETT — A plan to renovate several roadways in Mattapoisett that has come in front of the Select Board numerous times was once again sent to the drawing board after engineers said it would require the removal of 26 roadside trees at 21 potential locations.

The project, proposed by VHB, an engineering firm contracted by the town, would see Main Street, Water Street, Beacon Street and Marion Road improved with sidewalks that meet Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. This project would involve changing the “road geometry” and moving utility poles,” said VHB Chief Highway Engineer Jamie Pisano.

After the firm’s previous plan was turned down at a Sept. 12 Select Board Meeting for its impact on 36 of Mattapoisett’s roadside trees, representatives from VHB returned to present revised plans.

According to Pisano, the firm’s arborist determined that several trees were “not healthy” and would need to be removed. Other trees that would be “impacted” by overhead wires from utility poles would also have to be removed, he said.

“The biggest impact is to Munroe Park,” said Pisano. “There’s a bunch of oaks … that will be impacted.”

The Mattapoisett Select Board and members of the public including Marine Advisory Board Chair Carlos DeSousa were not satisfied with the plan.

“I’m still not happy with this by the way,” said Mattapoisett Select Board member Jordan Collyer of the proposal.

DeSousa suggested checking with Eversource to see if utility poles that would impact trees could be made higher.

With a higher utility pole “the span is longer,” said DeSousa, which would require less poles to be erected and thus fewer trees removed.

“I would hate to see a tree be cut [when there could be] another option,” said DeSousa.

The Select Board plans to hold a meeting with Eversource in the near future to explore options that would result in fewer removed trees.

“We’re looking for potential solutions that would reduce the number of trees that would have to come out,” said Mattapoisett Select Board member Tyler Macallister.

“By going taller [with the height of utility poles], we can go longer spans, by going longer spans we can take poles out potentially. Less poles, less impact, that is the goal,” said Collyer.

According to Macallister, “this project has been going on way too long, we have to get to the decision making process.”

The board set a deadline of Nov. 14 for a final decision to be made on whether or not the upgrades would take place.