Colrain opts to keep South Green River Road open this winter, conditions permitting

South Green River Road, on right, where it intersects with Nelson Road in Colrain.

South Green River Road, on right, where it intersects with Nelson Road in Colrain. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

South Green River Road in Colrain, parallel to the Green River.

South Green River Road in Colrain, parallel to the Green River. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By BELLA LEVAVI

Staff Writer

Published: 12-01-2023 2:56 PM

COLRAIN — Following complaints from residents, the Selectboard has opted to keep South Green River Road open for the winter, provided it does not become dangerous.

“The logical conclusion is to keep it open until it becomes a safety issue,” said board member Thom Griffin after hearing from residents.

For the past two years, the section of South Green River Road between Nelson and West Leyden roads has been seasonally closed in the winter. All residents can get to their homes, but it creates an inconvenient detour for many commuters’ journeys.

“Closing creates undue hardship on the people who live on this road,” John Zilch, a South Green River Road resident, wrote in a letter to the Selectboard.

Many residents of South Green River Road who are most directly affected came to the Selectboard meeting this week to object to the road’s scheduled closure.

“Not every year is a bad year. It is not guaranteed until it happens,” said Alan Staley, adding that many people in east Colrain are also inconvenienced by the closure.

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However, Highway Superintendent Steve Daby said he expects ice to become an issue on the road again this year.

Daby said he heard from members of his crew that the area has been a high-maintenance one in the past. Town Administrator Kevin Fox said Highway Department employees used to maintain the road multiple times a week with graders in the years the road was not seasonally closed.

“We don’t have that luxury anymore,” Fox said.

Fox indicated the Post Office informed him last year that mail carriers would not deliver mail on South Green River Road because of its dangerous conditions. People attending the meeting noted the road gets progressively worse as the season goes on.

Attendees also spoke about possibly allocating money in the fiscal year 2025 budget to fix the road’s drainage issues. It has an undersized culvert that causes water buildup, leading to mud and ice issues.

At the end of the discussion, the Selectboard gave Daby the authorization to close the road when he notices conditions become too dangerous for drivers. Upon closure, the town will notify residents through its website. Daby has been instructed to check on the road conditions weekly.

Reach Bella Levavi at 413-930-4579 or blevavi@recorder.com.