Two closed bridges in Amherst to reopen soon

  • The Station Road bridge over Hop Brook in south Amherst was closed for repairs in September 2018.  STAFF PHOTO/SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer
Published: 5/16/2019 11:52:50 AM

AMHERST — Two bridges that have been closed to vehicles, one since 2012 and the other since last September, should both be reopening to traffic in the coming weeks.

In North Amherst, the rebuilding of the Mill Street bridge, which passes over the Mill River below the Puffer’s Pond dam, is complete, according to Patrick Marvin, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

“MassDOT is continuing to work closely with the town of Amherst and expects to open the bridge to vehicular traffic by the end of the week,” Marvin said.

ET&L Corp. of Stow was hired by the state to handle the $2.1 million project. The work included installing new abutments and a 24-foot-wide bridge, which will feature a 10-foot-wide, multi-use path and a one-way traffic lane, with vehicles only able to access the bridge from the north side, or Summer Street and Pulpit Hill Road.

Pavement markings were put on the bridge Wednesday, Marvin said.

Guardrails also were installed on the bridge as one of the final elements of the project. The installation came with such significant noise last week that a resident at the nearby Mill Hollow Apartments called police about her home vibrating, believing it was an upstairs neighbor stomping on the floor.

Along with the bridge reopening will come a new traffic pattern and new parking rules on State Street that are aimed at making Puffer’s Pond safer for people who swim and fish there.

In South Amherst, the Station Road bridge over the Hop Brook could open later this month.

A temporary bridge the town has purchased is expected to arrive next week, another step toward restoring one of three main east-west routes for travelers between Amherst and Belchertown that has been cut off.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman said the town had to solicit three bids and selected Matrax, Inc. of Columbia, Maryland as the vendor.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Guilford Mooring said the total cost of the bridge purchase will come in under $50,000. Once it is in town, DPW crews will do the work associated with getting the bridge in place. The Town Council previously approved $212,500 for the project, and $1.37 million in total spending for a permanent bridge sometime in the future.

Chris Blauvelt, a member of what has been known as the Temporary Bridge Committee, said that many residents and small businesses will be pleased to learn that the current detours will not be in effect much longer, in particular for the numerous landscapers who work at homes in Amherst Woods and other neighborhoods affected by the closure.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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