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News Alert
Wickford Bridge Grand Opening Ceremony Scheduled

Waltham Residents Angry With Work At Polaroid Site

Also, developers named a new tenant for the site.

Abutters of the planned retail complex at the former Polaroid site loudly denounced the project during a Jan. 24 public meeting saying blasting at the site was causing damage to their homes.

Blasting company officials, however, said they are operating within the laws.

The brouhaha emerged during a Thursday, Jan. 24 meeting with project officials for the complex, currently known as 1265 Main St. The project will span 280,000 square feet with 100,000 square feet of office space. Construction at the site is slated to begin in May or June, according to J & Co. Project Manager Rick Vallarelli. Developers previously said they expect phase one of the build out, including the planned Market Basket, will partially open by the end of 2013.

As with many large projects, however, timelines for completion can change.

To date, have been announced as tenants for the site. 

NEIGHBOR CONCERNS

  • Several project abutters angrily complained about recent rock blasting at the site, with one man claiming a blast had knocked a part of his ceiling to the floor, nearly hitting him. He said project officials are not giving him enough advance notice before blasts and that they were interrupting his lunch.
  • “You are driving me crazy. You’re killing me here. Stop it already,” the man said without identifying himself. He also claimed the blasting company, Maine Drilling & Blasting, had not been following blasting regulations.
  • Several other residents mentioned they had spotted cracks or other damage in their homes. 
  • A Maine Drilling & Blasting official told the audience the company had monitors at the site that they had not cited the project for violating blasting rules. The representative offered to settle disputes and potential damages with abutters individually.
  • Blasting methods could be altered to shorten the length of the explosions but that would mean more blasting overall, the MDB official explained.
  • Most of the blasting at the site should be done within six weeks, according to the MDB representative.
  • Another project abutter, Jennifer Patton, demanded the developers establish a mitigation fund to cover the costs of any damage caused by construction. She mentioned her office nearby has dirty water and that she was worried about the foundation in her home. Project officials offered to meet with her individually. 

UPDATES (Sources: Project engineer Jim Lamp of J & Co., Rick Vallarelli, J & Co. project manager, Kevin Dandrade, traffic engineer, TEC.)

  • A Verizon store will be coming to the store, but project officials offered no other details on it.
  • Site work update: Workers are currently completing site work for the Market Basket after spending months moving electrical transmission lines. 
  • Traffic plans: This spring, developers will begin work to widen Main Street (Route 20) in the area surrounding the site. They also plan to install new traffic signals and upgrade the current ones at Bear Hill Road and Stow Street. Pedestrian and sidewalk upgrades will also be done.
  • Traffic plans: Work to alter the two on/off ramps on Route 128 will include widening the northbound off-ramp to better push traffic onto Main Street. On the southbound side, changes will include widening the ramp to slow traffic before they get on the ramp.
  • The one former Polaroid building still standing could serve as an office building at the site, but no tenant has yet been signed.
  • Project officials showed renderings of what the site could look like when it’s completed. They showed a "town green" park along with outdoor seating for the restaurants.
NonnyMus January 27, 2013 at 01:42 AM
Hey Steven Cavaretta, asking questions isn't the same as 'playing critic'! So far, you're the only critic on the thread, so kudos to you for a masterful job of psychological projection!
NonnyMus January 27, 2013 at 01:43 AM
Insurance adjusters can tell if a crack or other damage is new or old. I agree with you about the union concerns, though. Will there be a more extensive article about that issue, Ryan?
Kathy D'Agostino January 28, 2013 at 09:12 PM
Will there be additional ramps to route 128 closer to the Polaroid site or does the reference to a ramp above (under TRAFFIC PLANS) refer to the route 128 ramps at exit 26, route 20?
S.H. January 30, 2013 at 06:28 PM
If they don't build a new ramp. . I WILL be moving from Stow Street. I've had enough.
Breezer January 30, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Better start packing, S.H. I was at the meeting. No new ramps are planned for Phase One. Stow Street will experience an increase in traffic.

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