Amherst road work goes smoothly

AMHERST – Plans for a major road project this year looked like bad news for two village businesses that depend on vehicle traffic.

The work has been going on for most of the summer and the owners of the two businesses most affected, Moulton’s Market and Mike’s Auto Service, both say the town and the contractors have done well lessening the impact of the dual-phase project – water main replacement and paving.

They have “done a terrific job keeping the roads open to keep the traffic flowing,” said Steve Yurish last week, and and they are “very sensitive to the impact.”

There has been “a lot of communication … Bruce Berry (director of public works) emails every Friday” with updates.

There has been some loss of business, Yurish said, and workmen coming in for snacks and meals have made up for some of the loss of business.

“By and large the impact was far less than I thought when I heard” about it, he said, and regular customers have been finding their way to the store, despite the detours. “We are grateful to them. We know they have other options.”

Mike Larivee runs Mike’s Auto Service with his wife Mickey. While the work has been going on they have been picking up some of their customers’ cars, Mike said, because the large construction machines intimidate them.

But overall Larivee is happy.

The work “needs to be done,” he said. “Bruce Berry has been fantastic. His communication skills are great.”

Work on the town center includes two coats of base asphalt, said Berry in a phone interview Monday.

and he hopes to complete the section between Main Street and Wilkins School by Friday, then focus on the lower section of Boston Post Road, between Main and Amherst streets.

The Village “used to have a lot of puddles,” and the construction of catchbasins should help with that, he said.

After Labor Day he hopes to start working on drainage on Danbury Circle.

Over the next 30 days, he said, the work will “button up for the winter” and continue next year on Foundry Street, where the road work that will be completed in one year, rather than two, as originally planned.

“That’s why we are holding off on a top coat, so there are no seams,” said Berry.

A process known as “mill and fill” where they grind down and replace several inches of asphalt, he said, will give considerably more strength to many of the town’s older roads.

Berry said after the road bond was approved by voters he sat down with the two business owners as well as some residents. He sends them email notices of expected, and unexpected, disruptions, so residents can “get out ahead of the paving equipment.”

“We are kind of invading their space,” he said.

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Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304, or kcleveland@
cabinet.com.