Hadley lands $226K federal road improvement grant

  • Hadley Town Hall  Gazette file photo

Staff Writer
Thursday, January 11, 2018

HADLEY — More than half a mile of the gravel portion of Moody Bridge Road will be resurfaced using a federal grant to make public access easier to a portion of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

Town Administrator David Nixon informed the Select Board Jan. 3 that the town was recently notified that it has received a $226,000 grant from the Federal Lands Access Program, or FLAP, to pay for the road work.

The money will be used to put down oil and stone on 3,000 linear feet of Moody Bridge Road that is currently unpaved.

The federal transportation grant was made available to improve the road and help people get to the Fort River Trail.

The Fort River Trail runs through about 250 acres of the Fort River Division of the Conte Refuge, crossing both grassland and floodplain forest. The Fort River is the longest free-flowing tributary of the Connecticut River in Massachusetts, as well as being home to the federally endangered dwarf wedge mussel and rare bird species.

Over 36,000 acres of federally owned land in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut, makes up the Conte Refuge. The land is located within the 7.2-million acre Connecticut River watershed.

Hadley will have to make an approximately $4,000 match to the FLAP grant as well as provide in-kind services for the road work.

Even though the project will move forward, with a likely fall completion, Select Board members noted that some residents who live on the road are concerned that improvements will encourage more motorists traveling through Hadley to use Moody Bridge as a shortcut.

The Conte Refuge was created in 1997 as part the National Wildlife Refuge system.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.