More funding needed for Esmond Mill Drive Bridge replacement

More funding needed for Esmond Mill Drive Bridge replacement

SMITHFIELD – The next Town Council will be responsible for funding $268,745 in the 2021-2022 budget for the remaining balance for repairs to the Esmond Mill Drive Bridge.

The Town Council awarded the $1.32 million contract for the replacement of the bridge to New England Building and Bridge Company during the Sept. 1 meeting.

Councilor Michael Lawton said he may not be on the next council, though he’s running for re-election.

“I may not want to push that on another council,” he said.

The motion came despite the town having only $1.27 million in capital reserve funds for the project, which replaces the bridge leading to the wastewater treatment facility at 20 Esmond Mill Drive, according to Town Engineer Kevin Cleary.

Cleary proposed using the next fiscal cycle to close the gap in funding, adding that New England Building and Bridge agreed to extend the contract one year, to Sept. 2021, to allow for additional funding to come in.

Originally, construction was slated for completion using accelerated construction methods for the spring of 2021, but will now be pushed back until funding is available.

“They will not complete the project until the time that funds are available to complete the project,” Cleary said.

Cleary added that the project has the potential to come in $60,000 less than the original estimate if different materials are used.

Plans to replace the bridge, which goes from Waterman Avenue to Maple Street over the Woonasquatucket River, have been in the works for the past two years.

Town Manager Randy Rossi said pushing the remaining balance for the project was the “best of two evils” but he said he’s concerned that pushing the project even more would bring in “more exorbitant pricing.”

He said the town may be able to find more grant funding for the project.