Sand Mill Road Bridge Repairs More Expensive Than Anticipated

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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This bridge on Sand Mill Road could cost $1 million if the state replaces it or $150,000 of the town repairs it.

CHESHIRE, Mass. — Repairs on the Sand Mill Road Bridge could cost up to $150,000, about three times what was anticipated.

Town Administrator Mark Webber told the Selectmen on Tuesday that he had contacted the state bridge engineer for District 1 in regard to the bridge, which was closed last month because of deterioration.

Webber said the town would have to hire a state-prequalified bridge engineer if it wanted to fund the repair of the bridge instead of a full replacement by the state.

After the engineer surveys the bridge, he or she must meet with MassHighway to create a plan that the state would accept.

The town would have to fund the repair and pay for the engineer.

Public Works Director Peter LeFebvre said the state will only replace the bridge, which he believes could cost over $1 million. If the town chooses to repair the bridge for the anticipated $50,000 it would only be a one-lane bridge. The engineer and design could cost upwards of $100,000.

Webber said the state does not see the four-mile detour as a huge issue so he anticipates complete replacement of the bridge will take some time.

"They do not see this detour as the end of the world and given that, we would be quite a ways down on the Mass Highway bridge emergency repair list," Webber said.

Resident Elizabeth Ariazi, who initially called the state inquiring about repairing the bridge to get it fixed quicker, asked that the town get some quotes from engineers to see if there is an affordable option. She said the detour is not convenient and may make it difficult to sell her house in the future.

"What I am worried about is the winter," she said. "I don't want to take the car down Notch Road. It's pretty scary; you either go into the river or you go into a rock wall."

Selectwoman Carol Fracesconi said she though last week's Kinder Morgan gas pipeline informational meeting was a success.

"It was very well received and well attended," Francesconi said. "I have heard comments on the street since it's happened, and they are glad we did it."

Resident Eileen Quinn said the public has shown a greater interest in having a citizen's petition warrant article at town meeting asking for a resolution that would ask the selectmen to officially oppose the pipeline if accepted.

Selectman Paul Astorino said he did not have a problem with the resolution warrant article.  

Webber said he contacted the Bureau of Local Assessment to see what power the town has over businesses that do not file a form of list showing their personal property.

Recently the town received complaints that the assessors were not correctly accepting form of lists from businesses.  

Webber said the town can only refuse businesses the ability of abatement if they do not file their form of list. He said the adoption of any penalty or fine process requires a special act through the Legislature.

Tags: assessors,   bridge work,   detour,   MassDOT,   

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