A massive hole on Route 116 has closed traffic along the state highway. Photos courtesy of Brent Lancia.
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Cheshire officials are estimating it will cost nearly $1 million to repair roads damaged by Wednesday night’s storm.
Selectmen Chairwoman Carol Francesconi said Route 116 received the brunt of the damage. More than half the road is sunken in near Clairmont’s Farm, and the hole is 8 to 10 feet deep, she said, with the guard rails hanging in midair.
Cheshire is definitely responsible for repairing $20,000 in damage to Windsor Road and damage to other back roads, but the town is in discussions over who is responsible to pay for restoring Route 116: Cheshire or the state.
"The town does not have a million dollars to repair roads with, and we need to get some emergency assistance from the state," Francesconi said.
Francesconi said Cheshire has close to $426,000 in its stabilization account but free cash cannot be used because it must be certified after July 1.
If the town receives state aid, it could possibly get the roads reconstructed in one to two months. However, she said this was the "best case scenario."
Cheshire officials have met with the representatives from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and has contacted the state Highway Department and the Department of Environmental Protection.
Francesconi said it is critical to get Route 116 up and running as soon as possible because it is a much-used road.
"I don’t think people realize how much traffic Route 116 gets," she said. "We have a lot of truck traffic coming off of Route 2 and all of the people of Savoy and east Cheshire depend on that road and they can't use it now."
The highway is closed between Henry Wood Road and Stewart White Road, east of Hoosac Valley High School.
Despite the damages, Francesconi is thankful no one got hurt and is confident Cheshire will pull through.
"I can't believe the damage that water can do … and we are very lucky that no one was driving over the road when it caved in but," she said. "I have no doubt that we will come together and fix it somehow."