SALISBURY — The Driftway rehabilitation project will move ahead after all, thanks to a $180,000 state grant.

The project calls for the reconstruction of the street, as well as adding more parking spaces, concrete sidewalks and a dedicated loading zone for businesses.

Voters at the fall Town Meeting approved $25,000 for the Driftway project, which also requires an additional $400,000 for its completion.

Salisbury applied for a $400,000 state Complete Streets grant last year but was only awarded $362,000. The $38,000 shortfall, coupled with higher-than-expected construction bids, forced the town to delay the project late last year.

Town Manager Neil Harrington said earlier this week that the state awarded Salisbury a $180,000 Shared Streets & Spaces grant designed to help communities deal with COVID-19-related concerns such as supporting small businesses.

Harrington said by combining the new $180,000 Shared Streets & Spaces grant with the $362,000 Complete Streets funding, he believes the town can put the Driftway project back out to bid soon.

"We had a meeting with our engineers earlier this week and it will be going back out to bid shortly," Harrington said. "We think that we should be able to get better pricing because we are bidding at a time of the year when people will be looking for work in the spring."

Harrington said the $180,000 Shared Streets & Spaces funding will be used to add outdoor seating and lighting in the Driftway area.

"These funds are designed to allow towns to adapt to a COVID-19 environment as well as a post-COVID-19 environment," Harrington said. "Some of the accommodations that have been made for things such as outdoor restaurants seating may be made more permanent.

"We are extremely grateful to the (Gov. Charlie) Baker administration. This has allowed us to take advantage of two different programs that we can meld together and create a more comprehensive, safer, family-friendly experience on Driftway."

Harrington also said he hopes to begin the Driftway rehabilitation project in early spring.

"Our goal would be to have the vast majority of the project completed by around Memorial Day," Harrington said. "Then, we would perhaps come back in the fall and finish what remains," which might include, for example, the final coat of paving, which might not get done until fall.

Harrington thanked Planning Director Lisa Pearson for her work to successfully obtain the grant.

"Lisa did an excellent job in searching out this grant program and putting together a proposal that fits in nicely with what we are trying to do on Driftway," Harrington said. "So, kudos to her."

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

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