Clarifying bridge decision process

Monday, June 04, 2018

To avoid any confusion created by the headline and article that appeared about the Schell Bridge redesign process on May 15, the Northfield Schell Bridge Advisory Committee would like to clarify two key points.

First, the decision process for the design of the replacement bridge is multi-faceted, and the ultimate decisions rest with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Citizen input has been encouraged by MassDOT and will be an important factor in the decision. We have greatly appreciated MassDOT’s efforts to visit repeatedly and collect information from all citizens who wish to comment. We are confident this information will be used by MassDOT as it continues the complex process of assessing costs, engineering and construction factors among the various designs.

Contrary to the headline on May 15, a final decision has not been made.

Second, the article incorrectly identified which design was preferred by those who registered their preference on line. Online comments were collected through the town website to supplement the comments collected at the meeting March 22, when three revised designs were presented by MassDOT. The clear preference of online comments, by a wide margin, was Design Alternative 3: Steel Tied Arch. The photo is correct, the text was not.

The Town Advisory Committee looks forward to working with MassDOT, our elected officials and our town citizens to make this bridge a reality. We are confident it will be a tremendous asset to the town, the region and the state.

Judy Wagner

Chair, Northfield Town Schell Bridge Advisory Committee