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Bridge doesn’t need added costs

To the editor:

Your Sept. 17 coverage of the open meeting in Sharon “Cross Road Bridge Work in Question” was correct in all but one important point. In 2007 the serious flooding did not wash out the bridge, but a large section of the roadway instead.

The bridge remained virtually intact, and subsequent repairs were so effective that the bridge was removed from the state’s “red list” and has been rated “satisfactory” every two years since. Despite this finding the Sharon Select Board continued to report the bridge as “red-listed and in danger of being closed.”

Based on this misinformation, Town Meeting voted each year to add thousands of dollars to the replacement fund. Now the cost of replacing this “satisfactory” bridge is $600,000, including $120,000 from the Sharon Taxpayers (about $1,000 per household.)

Moreover the Cross Road Bridge is little used. The state says it averages 140 crossings per day. My research tells me it could be less than half that number. Even the engineering company doing the plans says it is likely five to 10 years before the bridge would be “red-listed” again. (And repaired again?) So why is the Select Board spending $600,000 to replace it now? They argue that it took 10 years in line to get the state’s 480,000, so why not take the money (and use Sharon’s $120,000) anyway? After all, they say, if we don’t take the state’s money, it will go to some other town.

Well, maybe it should. Scarce resources should be used for real needs.

Ted O’Brien


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