Arch to connect Broad Street and Center Springs Park
By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Thu., Dec. 13, 2012
With repairs needed to a culvert under Edgerton Street near the pond area of Center Springs Park, the town of Manchester had the option to open up the park to pedestrian traffic and small emergency vehicles following the repairs. The town Engineering Division explored options to repair the culvert and later build a structure that would allow pedestrian and vehicular access between the park and Broad Street and allow continuity of the Cheney Rail Trail. They met with structural engineers from engineering firm Fuss & O'Neill, which has a location in Manchester, to design four options. During their meeting on Dec. 11, the Board of Directors discussed the four options, and voted on their selection.
Jeff Lamalva of the Engineering Division presented the options to the board. All options allowed at least a 15-feet-high and 18-feet-wide space for passage beneath. “That is designed for pedestrians only, and small vehicles,” said Lamalva. The upper width of each structure where the trail crossed was 12 feet wide. The first option, 1A, was a small arch, 20 feet in length. The estimated total cost of the small arch was $1,040,000.
Option 1B was a large arch. “It's similar to the first one, but with a much longer span,” said Lamalva. It has a 54-foot length. The pedestrian and vehicle opening was still 15 feet high and 18 feet wide, however, “you have a larger opening for visual purposes,” said Lamalva. With larger wing walls, this structure was pricier than 1A, with a total of $1,098,000.
Option 2A was a small bridge. Again, the opening size was only large enough to allow pedestrians and small vehicles. To allow for the 12-foot width of the span, the wing walls of the structure were much larger than for the two arches, driving up the total price to $1,275,000.
The final option, 2B, was a large bridge featuring an 82-foot steel truss. The passage underneath remained 18 feet wide, with 2:1 slopes, composed of backfill, on each side. This design provides wide visibility into the park. The structure cost was significantly lower than the other options, with a total of $871,000.
After the presentation, the directors discussed their thoughts and concerns.
“I'm in favor of 2B, because it gives a better view of the park, and I believe that the public was screaming for safety when we came out with this last time,” said Deputy Mayor Jay Moran. “I'm going with wide open and as safe as possible, that's why I'm going with 2B.”
Mayor Leo Diana did not agree with Moran. “2B looks good, but to me, 1B looks better,” he said, pointing out the look and width. Directors Rudy Kissmann, Mark Tweedie, Susan Holmes and Cheri Pelletier also favored the large arch option.
“[Option] 2B is certainly cheaper than the 1B option, however, 2B could be adaptable to two-way traffic. That removes it from my consideration. Also, the expense would be considerable to do that in the future, so that would raise the cost of that bridge to an area I'm not willing to support,” said Pelletier. She supported 1B because it fulfills all parameters requested by the board: it opens the park to pedestrians, provides a view to the park from outside, allows the culvert to be fixed and is affordable.
Director John Topping pointed out that while the large arch looked nice in design, it provides more concrete surface space for graffiti. He also thought that people might be afraid to use the arch, especially if it became a point of congregation for the homeless. “I cannot and will not vote for anything that will impede the use of the park,” he said, lending his support to 2B.
Director Steve Gates liked the wider options – 1B and 2B – but was convinced to favor 2B by the price tag differential. He also said he does not favor the possibility of two-way traffic through the park – which 2B physically enables – but does not want to choose a more expensive option simply to restrict that possibility. “It's just not worth it to me to pay $200,000 to make it more difficult for the community in the future if town leaders in a decade or two wanted to do that,” he said. “It's making it more expensive for us now, and more expensive for town leaders then.”
The directors voted first on option 2B, with Gates, Moran and Topping in favor, but it was defeated by six nays. The vote on option 1B passed with seven directors supporting it and Topping and Moran voting against it.