The culvert is in place on East Road and awaiting guardrails .
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The reconstruction of the East Road Bridge is nearly completed.
Asphalt was expected to be laid by today, Friday, but the actual opening of the roadway has to be put off for final safety touches.
"The guardrails won't be in until the following week," Town Administrator Thomas Webb informed the Selectmen at an brief meeting on Wednesday. While residents will be able to walk across, the bridge will be blocked until the guardrails are installed. "They don't want anybody trying to get across the bridge."
The bridge has been closed since Tropical Storm Irene struck in August 2011. The town had hoped for federal funds to offset the costs but was repeatedly rebuffed because the deteriorating culvert had been scheduled for replacement.
A new aluminum culvert over Kenyon Brook has been installed by J.H. Maxymillian, which was awarded the contract in August for a bid of $274,276.05. The final asphalt coat will be laid in the spring.
The project has run into minor delays — Superstorm Sandy wiped out the diversion piping for the brook, a sewer line was later included, the truck delivering the culvert broke down and now the guardrails are late.
Still, the bridge should be open before the end of the year and any bad weather moves in, providing some relief for residents on Daniels and East roads who've had to take "the long way round."
Webb said work on Gates Avenue, also damaged by Irene, will not occur until spring because of concerns over paving. Leaving it as dirt or gravel could damage town plows coming down the steep roadway, he said.
In other business, the Selectmen have tentatively scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 5 p.m. to set the tax rate. The review of property assessments was completed this week.
The board also announced there will be no Selectmen's meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 26.
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