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Sewer project work and Red Robin plans moving forward

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM The town of Wilbraham continues to expand and make improvements, despite the gloomy economic climate throughout most of the United States.

At their July 7 meeting, the Board of Selectmen heard an update from Dan Lawrence of Weston & Sampson, the consulting firm behind the Main Street Sewer Project, on how the project is progressing.

"The project is going well," Lawrence told the selectmen. "Albanese [the contractor] is moving quickly. We're surprised with how much progress they've made. It's a good thing."

Despite challenges the contractor has faced including broken water mains on Main Street and Woodland Dell they've managed to keep on schedule and are even bringing in a third crew to get more work done, according to Lawrence.

He said the crews will be moving onto sewer work at Minnechaug Regional High School next and that they expect to finish their piping work by the end of this year. Lawrence added a tentative date of April 2009 as the completion date of the work, nearly two months ahead of what was originally scheduled.

Patrick Brady, chair of the Board of Selectmen, asked what the town could do to make the work smoother.

"Residents need to recognize the concept of construction and realize how tough it can be some days," Lawrence responded. "Burt Lane will be a big challenge because of the library and the businesses located there, but it will only take nine working days [approximately two weeks] to finish." He said he expected work to begin there in late September.

Communication with the town departments and residents is key, Lawrence noted, to keep the project as simple as possible.

He added that road construction should be finished by November.

Construction will also be taking place on the newly approved Red Robin restaurant by the end of August, according to Robert Hawley, senior vice-president of Red Robin in Western Massachusetts and Connecticut. Once construction on the restaurant begins, it should take about four months before it is finished.

The restaurant gained liquor license approval from the Board of Selectmen during their last meeting. Alcohol sales make up only nine percent of the restaurant's total sales, according to Hawley.

The Red Robin, which will be located at 2039 Boston Road in the same plaza at the new Big Y, will employ an estimated 100 full- and part-time employees, depending on the volume of customers, Hawley said.

"I think Red Robin and Wilbraham will form a great partnership," he said.

"It looks like a home run to me as an addition to the community," selectman James Thompson added.

Although no date for opening has been announced, Hawley said he expects the restaurant to be open sometime early in the next year.