Months of discussions and planning and reworking have brought the proposed Department of Public Works facility on River Road to a very different place than where it began.
It's a process that led resident Anette Lewis to praise the Permanent Municipal Building Committee and Weston & Sampson, the firm working on the site and building designs, telling them that she thought they had "done a wonderful job."
“We're in the early phases of design development," said Matt Kauffman, chair of the PMBC. "We still have a lot of work to do, but we thought we were at a milestone where it was important to inform everybody.”
During a Q&A and information session Tuesday night, Jeff Alberti with Weston & Sampson explained that a new facility is needed to alleviate safety and environmental issues as well as to provide adequate storage for Wayland's equipment and appropriate facilities for DPW employees.
"We wanted to understand what these deficiencies were so that we could build a facility to meet the needs now and into the future,” Alberti said.
The site of the current salt shed on River Road has been considered a prime site for the new office space, maintenance area and garage for some time. Over the past few months, the PMBC has worked with abutters and River Road residents to address concerns. Part of that effort resulted in a plan for the vehicle access on River Road to be for emergencies and resident visitors to the site only. DPW vehicles and delivery trucks will access the site via an access road behind the Wayland Transfer Station.
In addition to the traffic agreement, Alberti said the design and footprint of the facility were also adjusted with the closest abutter in mind. The building is angled slightly on the site in such a way as to keep the garage doors aimed away from the abutter -- a visual and sound benefit.
Furthermore, Alberti explained, the site is designed to facilitate a continuous counterclockwise traffic flow. That will increase safety, but will also reduce the need for backing up and, therefore, the occurance of back-up warning sounds from the trucks.
“A lot of the operations were set up to avoid the impact on that abutter,” Alberti said, adding that an earthen berm will be erected to further reduce visual and noise impact.
In keeping with the counterclockwise traffic flow plan, designers are considering creating a new entrance in the existing salt shed and closing up the current entrance. That would fit well into the flow and would also move the entrance to a side away from the abutter.
The facility and site are being designed with an eye toward future needs, including building the infrastructure for a future fueling site, should that become necessary, and allowing space to expand the building if more space is needed down the road.
Plans will continue to develop over the coming months leading up to the April 2013 Town Meeting, the next stop in bringing the new facility to fruition.