Cross Road bridge work in question

No longer on the state’s red list, town reviewing options

SHARON — The Cross Road bridge, which spans Town Line Brook, near where Cross Road intersects with McCoy and Old Sharon roads, was built in the 1930s as a single-lane bridge, according to Chet Bowles, the assistant to the Sharon Select Board. The bridge became two lanes in the 1950s, when a new culvert was added, but it went on the state’s red list of bridges in need of repair in 1999. Two years later, the town started a capital reserve fund to set aside money for eventual repairs.

Now some residents are questioning whether the repairs are necessary, Bowles said on Tuesday. So Select Board members are planning to have a discussion of the bridge situation at their meeting on Sept. 17.

Bowles said the bridge had remained on the state’s red list until 2007.

“Serious flooding that spring did damage throughout the area,” Bowles said. “Water overflowed the bridge and took out about 150 feet of road.”

Bowles said when the road was rebuilt an additional culvert was added at Town Line Brook, so the new bridge was rated satisfactory by the state and was taken off the red list. But he said it remained on the state’s 10-year-plan for eventual replacement.

Bowles said the town was notified in the spring that the bridge will be eligible for state funding for 2014, which would cover 80 percent of the cost of the replacement.

In an Aug. 23 letter to Bowles, Matthew Low, a vice president and project manager of Hoyle, Tanner & Associates — the Manchester company hired by the town in 2012 to do an engineering study of the bridge — wrote that while the bridge is no longer on the state red list, “it is likely the bridge condition will be downgraded in the future to the point where it may again be placed on the red list.” The letter also stated that the bridge is undersized and not capable of handling the water flow if a 100-year or 50-year flood should occur. It referred to the previous repairs as a stop-gap measure.

In an Aug. 29 email to Select Board member Linda Paris, Mark Fernald, a Sharon resident, asked how much has been spent to date on engineering and other costs related to the bridge, how much money is left in the town’s bridge reserve fund and how much additional money will need to be appropriated for the bridge repair.

Fernald said on Wednesday that he isn’t convinced that spending the money now is necessary. “We have more bridge issues potentially going forward,” Fernald said, citing the Mill Road and McCoy Road bridges, which he said get more traffic than the Cross Road bridge. “I guess the question I’m asking is, “Isn’t waiting an option?”

On Tuesday, Bowles said the bridge repairs are estimated to cost about $600,000 and the bridge capital reserve fund now has about $100,000. “We are close to having our 20 percent,” he said.

He said the town has spent about $60,000 so far on engineering work.

Bowles said Select Board members plan to answer any questions about the Cross Road bridge project at the Sept. 17 meeting, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the town office.

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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