Friday, July 13, 2012

Can't get there...

Mill Street Bridge

The town just closed Mill Street Bridge near Puffers Pond in North Amherst for an indefinite period.  Not that it will inconvenience any businesses out that way since the bridge is pretty out of the way, and one can still walk or bike across it.

 South Amherst Village Center

Meanwhile nicer signs have appeared around South Amherst advertising Atkins Farm Country Market and how to get there. The Atkins Corner construction/destruction has reached the farthest point north, passing the main entry to Hampshire College.  Now maybe they will get a tiny taste of what Atkins has endured these past few months.  
Lower West Street (RT 116) just above main entry to Hampshire College 

Hampshire College is not in session during the summer but they do rent out their facilities for summer camps.  Perhaps that's the main reason they decided not to aid Atkins by allowing a simple, easy cut through campus from Rt 116 over to West Bay Road to come within a frisbee toss of Atkins.  Now of course you have to drive miles out of the way to get there.

Unfortunately,  when faced with those extra miles, more than a few customers go elsewhere.   And every customer counts--especially at this time of the year.
Puffers Pond dam shot from Mill Street Bridge (and not from my car)

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was curious how I'd be detoured and so followed the detour signs against my better instinct(which would have been to cut through Hampshire). I wouldn't mind going so far out of the way if there were no other options, but it was incredibly frustrating to take such a long detour knowing that there was a much shorter solution. It seems kind of unfriendly of Hampshire to not let the detour go through the college.

Brian W. Ogilvie said...

This is a pretty small point, but I think that the town of Amherst was incorrect in saying that the Mill Street Bridge was closed to vehicles, if it is in fact open to bicycles. What they should have said is that it is closed to motor vehicles. The Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 85, section 11B, do not explicitly define a bicycle as a vehicle, but there is one reference to "other vehicles" when referring to a bicycle that implies that a bicycle is a vehicle (in legal terms, of course--in ordinary usage, of course it's a vehicle).

Anonymous said...

Is there any indication why the bridge was closed? Is this the bridge where you can see the waterfall from it?

LarryK said...

Yep. It's unsafe for heavy vehicles. It was built back in the horse and buggy days.

Anonymous said...

Bummer, I go over that bridge every afternoon at the end of the day.

Krysty said...

And it is on my commuting route and its closure means that I will once again have to endure the daily torment which is Pine Street, home of potholes and ditches and trenches to try the sturdiest suspension system but Lord Only Knows (and Guilford ain't tellin') when it will ever be paved.

LarryK said...

They are hoping for a huge gift of money from the state to do Pine Street.

It would have helped (as the state likes to fund infrastructure improvements for economic development) if Town Meeting passed Form Based Zoning in North Amherst.

Thomas Stratford said...

The town could have it, at least ground up. To keep the dust down, apply calcium chloride.At least you grade the potholes!

Anonymous said...

While to don't want to start a war here, it might be useful if the town looked into another way of getting from Eastern Leverett / Shutesbury to North Amherst, 116, the University and points west.

It might be wise to consider widening and paving Pulpit Hill Road from the Ruxton Gravel Pit to the Co-housing. That might even remove some traffic from Pine Street and would make the bus route more of a loop.

Anonymous said...

If the PVTA hadn't insisted on sending a bus weighing about twice what the bridge was posted over it for more than a decade, perhaps it would still be open.

How do they get away with it? Everyone knows what a bus weighs, they print route maps showing the bus going over the bridge, and no one says anything.

Anonymous said...

Didn't school buses also cross this bridge? The PVTA buses began using a different route several years ago.... Regardless, if the wheelbase of a bus is longer than the span of the bridge, then it's the weight-per-axle that matters most, not the total weight, so if the total weight of a bus "is about twice what the bridge was posted" for, that might explain why that was considered OK before.

Probably it's corrosion to support beams (from winter salt and the near-constant spray of water from the dam itself) that's the problem. Larry, can you get some photos from below the bridge to show whether that's the case?

As far as the future: a nice stone-arch bridge might be the only solution for such an environment - some of those from Roman times are still in service up in the Swiss Alps!

trussdob said...

Astonishing....the inspection was completed in January yet the Town wasn't notified until this past Friday, 6 MONTHS later. Likely the result of backlog (caused by neglect) and priority. Perhaps a review of notification criteria is in order?

Anonymous said...

School buses weigh less than PVTA buses, and as far as I am concerned, what the sign says is what the law is -- I am assuming that the engineer who figured out how much the bridge can safely handle knows that commercial vehicles are longer than a Toyota Corolla.

As to the state getting back now from something they saw in January -- you do not know what it is like to say something unpopular in a job like that -- you want to be absolutely sure. So sure that (in the days before digital cameras) a couple of Chicago engineering inspectors wanted to have pictures of the leaking railroad tunnel before they did anything -- and it instead collapsed and flooded most of the major buildings while they were waiting for their film to come back from the drugstore.