Town to close road during bridge project

SOUTHWICK – At Tuesday night’s Select Board meeting, the board approved a request from Department of Public Works Director Randy Brown pertaining to the closing of North Loomis Street for a short period of time when the Shurtleff Brook bridge project is underway.

In December, the Select Board signed off on the $116,000 contract for Gill Engineering to do the project. The Shurtleff Brook Bridge is a 100-year old span on North Loomis Street that measures 16 ft. long and 20 ft. wide. According to Brown, the current bridge is not salvageable for several reasons,  but primarily because it  is so narrow that it can’t accommodate two travel lanes without putting vehicles or pedestrians in danger.

Southwick DPW Director Randy Brown. (Photo courtesy of Greg Fitzpatrick)

The new bridge is planned to be 19 ft. long and 32 ft. wide, and the road will be realigned and widened to properly accommodate vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

In late March, the town received a $500,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Municipal Small Bridge Program.  Mass DOT accepts bridges into the program that are municipally owned, 10 to 20 feet in length, and are being replaced or preserved.

Brown also pointed out that another $325,000 will be used on the project from funds approved by the town at the last annual town meeting.

Brown is unsure as to the exact date the construction project will begin, but the approval from the Select Board now officially allows him to close North Loomis Street when that time comes.

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