Suffield selectmen favor lower cost design for bridge replacement

·2 min read

Dec. 2—SUFFIELD — During a discussion about replacing a failing bridge on Quarry Road on Wednesday, the Board of Selectmen favored a design that will cost $1.3 million — $400,000 less than another design under consideration.

The town has been planning to choose the $1.3 million design, and has put money aside accordingly, Town Engineer Karen Isherwood said.

Part of the cost has already been budgeted, and the other $900,000 has been planned for the next fiscal year's budget, Isherwood told the board.

BRIDGE REPLACEMENT

WHERE: Quarry Road in Suffield.

COST: The plan favored by the Board of Selectmen is a design that costs $1.3 million. An alternative design had a higher price tag of $1.7 million.

STATE DATE: Work is slated to begin next year.

The town has to pay for the replacement up front, but will receive half of the money back from the state, she said.

In recent months the Army Corps of Engineers has asked the town to consider building the bridge to a higher standard that the agency hasn't officially adopted yet, but that it says will be in place in the future, Isherwood said.

She said an alternative design would cost about $1.7 million and would be built to sustain a 100-year storm. The cheaper, $1.3 million design will be constructed to survive a 50-year storm, she said.

If the board believes the alternative design isn't fiscally possible, she believes the Army Corps of Engineers would accept that reasoning, Isherwood said.

Selectman Pete Hill said he preferred the cheaper option to save money, but also because the $1.7 million design would be more of a disruption to the environment.

Isherwood said she's hoping the project can begin in the spring, at the same time Granby will be fixing the bridge on its portion of Quarry Road, so the road only has to be closed once. It may not work out that way, though, she said.

The board also discussed completing a $13,000 repair on the current bridge, which Isherwood said is needed.

She said some of the heavy rainstorms this year caused a washout by the bridge that should be repaired before winter.

Hill questioned the rationale of spending money to repair a bridge that is going to be replaced anyway. He said $13,000 isn't a small expense and asked if the bridge could make it through winter without the repair.

Isherwood said it could if there are no more severe storms.

Selectwoman Kathy Harrington said she understands Hill's reluctance to spend money on the bridge now, but believed it must be done to ensure residents are safe.

Selectman Jerry Mahoney agreed, saying that from a risk perspective, the repair should be done now.

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