NEWFANE—In a unanimous vote, the Selectboard has selected a 28-foot-wide arch-bridge design to replace the Arch Bridge.
Although this width will allow for two vehicular travel lanes, the board opted to have the road striped for one car lane with additional striping along the sides for expanded pedestrian use.
The design addresses concerns by allowing emergency vehicles and plow trucks an easier passage with the wider width.
Also its meeting on Monday night, the board decided to create a three-way stop at the end of the bridge on Depot Road at the intersection of Grimes Hill and Dover roads.
The bridge, which spans the Rock River at the intersection, is scheduled for demolition and full replacement by the Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT).
AOT engineers presented three designs for the new bridge, with the most recent addressing two seemingly conflicting concerns: speed and visibility.
The agency’s planners contend that a single-lane bridge, built to current standards, would interfere with drivers’ ability to see cars crossing the bridge from the opposite direction.
Many locals, however, feared that a two-lane bridge would encourage speeding through Williamsville and South Newfane, villages where some residents say that speeding is already a problem.
The one-lane striping of the new bridge is designed to provide a “traffic-calming” effect on drivers, who would see a narrow lane and slow down. The wide shoulders would also make room for pedestrians and bicyclists to safely traverse the bridge [“Town gets revised plans for Arch Bridge replacement,” Town & Village, July 29].
At the Aug. 17 meeting, the board also voted to close the bridge completely and use a detour during construction. By doing so, the town will reduce its portion of construction costs by half, per the agreement with the AOT.
The estimated cost to replace the bridge is $2.5 million. The town’s share will be $125,000, with the federal government covering the remainder.
The AOT gave the town until Sept. 1 to decide which bridge design to choose, with the consequence of forfeiting its turn in line to get the Arch Bridge replaced. Selectboard Chair and Roads Foreman Todd Lawley has said at numerous board meetings that repairs to the bridge cannot wait.
The board vote followed a series of public meetings and written correspondence collected from residents..
According to AOT project managers, replacement of the Arch Bridge is scheduled for the construction season in 2020.