City officials hope they will no longer have to worry about vehicles slamming into the Gov. Roswell P. Flower Monument on Washington Street anymore.
Work began a couple of weeks ago on installing more barriers that will protect the historic monument from vehicles hitting it in the future.
The project includes installing 13 crash-rated ballards around the monument to prevent the type of incidents that have occurred several times over the years.
“The ballards will protect the monument in a big way,” said city planner Geoffrey T. Urda, adding that they will prevent damage from vehicles traveling as fast as 30 mph.
The monument near Public Square has been struck numerous times, sometimes with damage to the ballards or the monument itself.
The city is spending $100,000 from its $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative program to make the improvements. It’s also part of the city’s $3.6 million downtown streetscape project.
The Watertown architectural firm of Barton & Loguidice was retained to design the monument improvements and the other DRI projects.
The 10 existing shin-high ballards will be replaced by much larger ones, said Mark C. Budosh, senior associate with Barton & Loguidice.
The new barriers will be 3 feet tall — made of concrete with steel rods and rebar inside — and placed into 2 1/2 -foot holes in the ground.
“That should prevent any vehicle from hitting it,” Mr. Budosh said.
Granite curbing will be installed as part of the project.
Pedestrian safety is another focus of the project, near where a woman in a wheelchair was struck by a tractor-trailer and died in 2019.
The work includes a series of improvements.
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