COG asks Egypt Road residents to clarify request
WHATELY — The Franklin Regional Council of Governments is asking 13 residents of Egypt Road to clarify their request for the council to close their county road.
By the legal definition, there are five actions the council can take on a county road. These include specific repairs, relocation, abandonment, alteration or discontinuance. There are two types of discontinuance — discontinue the road altogether or discontinue it as a town road.
“Closure isn’t one of the legally defined actions our committee can take,” said Linda Dunlavy, executive director of the council. “They need to pick an action.”
The executive committee of the council scheduled a viewing of Egypt Road on Sept. 12 at 5 p.m. During a viewing, the committee observes the road. It will schedule a public hearing on the request depending on whether it receives a response from the petitioners in time.
In June, the residents petitioned the council, the agency that can legally close a “county road,” to close their dirt road. The residents’ petition followed the Whately Board of Selectmen’s decision to keep the road open to traffic
In their petition and at public hearings, the residents argued that the road is under-utilized and much of the traffic is generated by themselves.
Town public safety officials have countered that it could take an extra four minutes for emergency responders to respond to Long Plain Road from State Road if Egypt Road closed.
In deciding to close a county road, the council considers whether road closure meets the standard of public convenience and necessity.
The issue arose after the state Department of Transportation asked the selectmen if they wanted to close the road or keep it open. If kept open, it would be slated to receive $400,000 to $500,000 in upgrades to the railroad crossing. The crossing is part of a project to bring Amtrak passenger train stops to Greenfield and Northampton.
You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.