FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS REQUEST TO USE BRIDGE MONEY FOR NORTH AMHERST INTERSECTION
Department of Public Works (DPW) Superintendent Guilford Mooring gave an update on the Station Road Bridge at the January 28 Finance Committee meeting. Mooring said that the recently installed temporary bridge only cost about half the amount requested, with $116,919 remaining. He reported that the temporary bridge cost about $200,000, and was installed largely with DPW labor.
Mooring recommended that $80,000 of the remaining money be spent for an improved traffic light at the intersection of Meadow and North Pleasant Streets in North Amherst. The light, which will be suspended from a wire attached to telephone poles, has left-turn signals and an internal controller that will track traffic and decrease wait times. Mooring said that if the intersection is ever reconfigured, the light and controller could be reused there or elsewhere. He asked that remaining funds be used for road and sidewalk repairs.
In discussion, Councilors Cathy Schoen (District 1) and Dorothy Pam (District 3) asked Mooring how long the temporary Station Road bridge, constructed in 2019, can be left in place. Pam recalled that Mooring had said it could last “as long as twenty years.” Mooring responded that although the bridge could last that long, the support structures beneath it cannot, and the state will pressure the town to replace it in as few as two years. He said that the current bridge could potentially be used elsewhere in Amherst or sold. He estimated that a permanent bridge would cost between $1 and $2 million, partially paid for with grant and state money, including Chapter 90 money. Money left over from the temporary bridge cannot be allocated to the permanent bridge because the design process for the permanent bridge has not yet begun, he said.
The Finance Committee voted unanimously in favor of spending $80,000 to improve the traffic light in North Amherst and the remaining money for repairs to roads and sidewalks, and will send the request to the full Town Council for a vote.