Monday, October 21, 2013

A Bridge Too Far

 Mill Street Bridge near Puffer's Pond, closed last year due to safety concerns

The Amherst Select Board heard a report this evening from Town Manager John Musante concerning the North Amherst Mill Street Bridge, closed last year by "emergency" order of the state after their inspectors discovered problems during a routine inspection six months prior to giving the town the close order.

Now suddenly they wish to put us on a "fast track" for possible renovation in 2017 (making you wonder how they would define "slow track").

The Town Manager seemed a tad timid about that and responded with a letter saying the town hired a consultant to do an engineering study to outline four possible options:  Simply keep it the way it is, closed to motor vehicles and allow only pedestrian and bicycles; replace it with an improved structure but limited to bikes and pedestrians only; rebuild a bit stronger but only for one lane of traffic; and finally, do a standard rebuild of a two lane bridge with 4' to 5' sidewalk. 

At the 6:30 Public Comment period retired UMass history professor Louis Greenbaum urged the Select Board to reopen the bridge ASAP.  During the Town Manager's report concerning the bridge Vince O'Connor presented the board with a petition urging the bridge be reopened to one-way vehicular traffic while the engineering study process is going on.

Some locals would like it to remain closed, keeping it a giant planter


Anonymous said...

I miss crossing that bridge almost everyday on my way somewhere,

A daily check in with the waterfall was always uplifting.

I would hope that the town pays special attention to those whose daily lives are most affected by this decision.

Anonymous said...

Those barriers should be marked with caution yellow- even if there is a fence.

Safety more important than appearance!