NEWFANE—In response to Newfane’s interest in a compromise on the Arch Bridge replacement, the town received a new set of plans from the Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT).
The so-called “third option” sees the Arch Bridge rebuilt the width of two lanes, but striped as a single-lane span. This plan also makes the intersection on the northwest end of the bridge a three-way stop.
This may satisfy residents, especially those living along Dover and Grimes Hill roads in South Newfane and Williamsville, who see a two-lane bridge as encouraging speeding.
In addition to calming traffic, the wider bridge may calm the worries of locals who remember the Arch Bridge as the only supply-line west of Route 30 during the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene. These, and other types of emergencies — as well as more common events such as snowplowing — were cited as reasons to expand the new bridge beyond the width of the current structure.
Under the new plan, the bridge would be opened up as a two-lane bridge during a “bona fide emergency,” said Selectboard member Carol Hatcher.
Hatcher announced the town’s receipt of a sketch of the “third option” from the AOT at the July 21 regular Board meeting. She said this design may “meet the collective needs of all the citizens,” and she sees that as the Selectboard’s goal.
“The public is certainly invited to come here [to Town Hall] to see the sketch,” Hatcher said.
The Selectboard plans to vote on the bridge design at its August 17 regular meeting.
“Tell everybody, if they have any feedback, they have two more [Selectboard] meetings” to give it, Board Chair Todd Lawley said. He added writing a letter to the board was also an option for residents wanting to comment on the bridge’s design.
Lawley reminded the board that the town has until the end of August to give the AOT its decision on what kind of bridge it wants to replace the Arch Bridge. Otherwise, the project will get pushed back until some unknown date.
“That bridge can’t be put off,” Lawley said. “That bridge could be closed most any time it’s so bad.”