Residents of the Town of Berryville hoping to bike or walk to the park over spring break will need to be particularly observant and use extreme caution as a segment of the walking path along Main Street adjacent to the new high school construction site will be temporarily closed due to construction activities. The portion of the walking path that extends between the school site and West Main Street will be closed to all traffic throughout the week of 4/16 to 4/24. Pedestrians should avoid the area during the closure, but cyclists can legally ride in the travel lane on West Main Street while the path is closed.
The Berryville Town Council addressed the matter Tuesday night and expressed concerns over the plan. Town Manager Keith Dalton described the proposed work to the council stating,”The purpose of the work is that is there is quite a bit of grading that needs to be done along that portion of the path and the contractor believes it would be more effective to have a continuos period of closure instead of many short closures. ”
The week of Spring Break was targeted to avoid school foot traffic that normally occurs during the week.
“I do have an issue with it,” said Councilman Mary Daniel. “Spring Break does not seem to be the most logical time to close it down.” She mentioned the fact that Berryville is a walking community and that residents will be more likely to use the path as the weather breaks and in particular during spring break.
Ms. Daniel also took issue with the reasoning for closing the path for a week, “It is my understanding that the proposal to close the path down for a week is for the convenience of the contractor despite having already known that that path is in continuous use.”
Town Planner Christy Dunkle responded, “What he [the contractor] has to do is just west of the bus entrance. He has to excavate 2 to 4 feet of basically topsoil. His concern is that if he hits rock he will have to deal with that as well.”
Ms. Dunkle told the council that the week long closure would basically give the contractor the ability to deal with any unknowns to ensure the work could be completed.
The council discussed several possibilities but none were able to provide any substantive relief for the closure. While it will be inconvenient, the reality the council faced was that the work needed to be completed. The council did not oppose the action and the contractor will proceed with the site work beginning, Saturday April 16th.