HAVERHILL — Neighbors stood up and raised their voices and now the city is preparing to close a road leading through their neighborhood to a busy business park.
When the state closed the Ferry Road bridge in Bradford in September 2011 for major repairs, it opened a gate connecting South Riverview Street to Avco Road, which leads to and from the Ward Hill Business Park. Some neighbors liked using it as a shortcut to the Ward Hill Connector, while others were bothered by an increase in traffic through their neighborhood.
When the state reopened the bridge late last fall, the gate was shut. It wasn’t long after that neighbors began to contact City Councilor Michael McGonagle, chairman of the traffic and safety committee.
He said a few neighbors wanted the gate to remain open as a convenient shortcut, while more of them wanted it to stay closed and told him the increase in traffic through their neighborhood would pose a public safety issue.
“When we started talking about opening the gate, other neighbors came forward to ask that it remain closed,” McGonagle said. “When I brought it to the full council in December, I made a recommendation that it be referred to traffic and safety (a committee of city councilors).”
The gate leading to Avco Road is about a half mile from the Ferry Road bridge, which crosses over railroad tracks used by commuter and freight trains.
McGonagle said the gate was installed years ago to limit traffic traveling through the residential neighborhood between Route 125 (South Main Street) and the business park.
At a Traffic and Safety Committee meeting on March 12, neighbors packed the room in support of keeping the gate closed, McGonagle said.
“They didn’t want people driving through their neighborhood to and from the business park,” he said. “But, two neighbors who’d contacted me said they got used to using it when the bridge was closed and wanted it to stay open.”