South Dartmouth residents and businesses are preparing to lose the Padanaram Causeway until 2018.

MassDOT and John Rocchio Construction, the company in charge of the $8.2 million causeway project, discussed their plans at Monday night's Select Board meeting. MassDOT District Construction Engineer Jerry Bernard explained the reconstruction process and improvements being made.

"Basically we're going to be excavating the causeway. We're going to be rebuilding the stone walls that hold the causeway up," Bernard said.

The causeway will also see new railings, street lights, and drainage improvements.

Locals at the meeting questioned the timing of the closure, as it effectively cuts down foot-traffic for businesses in the last month of the summer, and whether the Padanaram Bridge would still need fixing after a 2-year closure.

Resident Steven Taylor said a new causeway will be for nothing if the bridge doesn't work properly afterward.

"We're going to have a gold-plated causeway to virtually nowhere whenever the bridge sticks," Taylor said.

Director of Public Works David Hickox said working on both projects at the same time would make sense, but there isn't enough money.

"The 14 years it took to fund the causeway and 6-plus years we've been working on soliciting funds for the bridge haven't aligned," Hickox said.

Hickox said the state doesn't view the Padanaram Bridge as a priority compared to the numerous other bridges-in-need throughout Massachusetts, making state-aid for the project difficult to come by.

The causeway will close long-term on august 1, and is expected to re-open in June 2018.

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