After unsatisfactory inspection, Keets Brook Bridge gets weight limit

  • The bridge on Simon Keets Road in Leyden will be reduced to one lane after an unsatisfactory inspection. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

Recorder Staff
Published: 7/7/2017 7:27:17 PM

LEYDEN — Following an unsatisfactory inspection in late May, the Keets Brook Bridge on Simon Keets Road is down to one lane indefinitely, with a three-ton weight limit.

Billy Brooks, foreman at the Leyden Highway Department, said when the Massachusetts Department of Transportation began its Municipal Small Bridge Program last year, it brought attention to bridges that had been previously overlooked.

“This is one of the bridges that was not inspected for 70 or 80 years,” Brooks said. “Some of the girders that hold the bottom up are rusted, corroded.”

Brooks said MassDOT inspected Leyden’s 13 bridges, with the Keets Brook Bridge being the only one that proved unsatisfactory. The bridge was last rebuilt after being washed out in the flood of 1938, Brooks believes.

Given the three-ton weight limit, only cars are allowed to pass on it. Brooks’ cousin Dave Brooks, Leyden Highway superintendent, said the open span of bridge is about eight feet.

“It’d be nice to be able to get fire trucks across it, fuel trucks and snow plows in the winter,” Billy Brooks said.

For the time being, Billy Brooks said the Guilford Fire Department has been notified to respond to the northern parts of town that the Leyden Fire Department won’t be able to reach. Dave Brooks said that while there are seven houses on Simon Keets Road, there are at least 25 homes in the northern part of town whose occupants use the road as a thruway to Interstate 91 in Greenfield.

Billy and Dave Brooks said the Highway Department is trying to gain funding to fix the bridge through the Municipal Small Bridge Program, submitting its application before the June 30 deadline. They are unsure if the bridge would need to be completely replaced or simply repaired.

Selectman Jeffrey Neipp suspects the bridge will be down to one lane of traffic for at least two years, and would be out of service for at least four or five months while being rebuilt.

“Hopefully it won’t deteriorate any more in that time period so we have to close it,” Neipp said.




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