By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent

BOSTON (CBS) – When cities and towns strapped for cash, it is often hard to find the funds to improve safety on local roadways.

The state has started a new program called “Small Bottlenecks” to help communities fix smaller problems before they become big ones.

This program sets aside construction money for smaller yet critically important infrastructure improvements.

For example, Quaker Meeting House Road in Sandwich is a major road with lots of kids, bikers and schools, but no sidewalks and no money to build them.

The Town of Sandwich actually began the sidewalk project three years ago but only completed less than one mile of the four mile project before the money ran out.

Now, Paul Tilton, Sandwich’s Public Works Commissioner says the town is going to be one of the first towns to benefit from the new state program.

As part of the program, the state will now pick up the tab of one million dollars to build more than three miles of sidewalk.

“So this isn’t about just giving a town one million dollars, and sprucing up the sidewalk but actually making a difference for pedestrians and for motorists,” said Richard Davey, Secretary of Transportation for Massachusetts.

Secretary Davey announced the program in June and says the state will now pay for five to ten projects like the one in Sandwich each year.

Secretary Davey says everything does not have to be the Big Dig.

“While it has been the transformative project for Boston, I think in government the small stuff matters,” said Davey.

And now Sandwich knows it.

“I was elated. I really didn’t think it was going to happen,” said Commissioner Tilton.

Tilton says they hope to begin the work in the fall.

The state says the new sidewalks will be completed by next summer.


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