State Street closure gets extended

GREENFIELD — State Street is going to remain closed for two more weeks than originally planned.

The major thoroughfare has been closed at Grant Street since July 27 as crews reroute the new ditch under State Street. The closure has caused headaches for residents and officials alike, with limited parking, detours and drivers who chose to find their own routes. And the work’s not done.

It was expected to be closed for three to four weeks, but city engineer Karla Vincent said it will remain closed an extra two weeks so crews can finish all State Street work related to the project instead of completing the work in two phases as planned.

Officials hope to have it reopened for good by Sept. 4.

“It’s going to be closed a little longer, but it will not be closed again. … Rather than opening it and having to close it again, they’re going to finish all the work,” she said.

Once work at Grant Street is finished, crews will move on to work at Walnut Street before moving on to the next phase of the project.

While the road is closed, previously established detours will remain in effect.

Drivers traveling north on State Street are directed to detour west on Main Street to Franklin Street and then take Franklin Street north to New Road before coming back to State Street.

Those traveling south on State Street should detour east on New Road, take Apple Street south and turn west on Main Street.

But not all drivers — especially semi tractor-trailer drivers — are heeding the detours, which are marked well in advance of the closure, officials say.

Greenfield Police Department Chief John Jester said his officers have stopped plenty of drivers during the three weeks the road has been closed.

They don’t use the detour, get struck and then police have to help them find a way through city streets not equipped to handle the size of a semi, he said.

But on occasion, those truck drivers have to get themselves out of the mess.

“My guys are doing everything in their power to get trucks stopped,” Jester said. “Unfortunately, we’ve got other (emergency) calls we’ve got to take, so we can’t be out there all the time.”

For residents living in the small neighborhoods surrounding Grant Street, the closure has been a nightmare.

Mary Meek lives on Lincoln Street and said she has seen far too many trucks get stuck on tiny city streets, especially hers.

She said she’s seen several trucks drive down her street and proceed into Riley Park, which is concerning to her because of the number of children playing there.

“I’m just worried somebody is going to get hurt,” she said. “I have grandkids come over; … if just one child gets hurt, then it’s gonna be too late.”

Officials said they’re aware of residents’ concerns, and they’re doing everything they can to mitigate problems.

It’s an inconvenience to people who live near the closure and along the detours, but the closure is necessary to complete the project, Vincent said.

“There’s always going to be some issues,” she said. “I think, for the most part, it’s going well. And this way, we won’t need to close it again.”

Staff writer Daniel Morgan contributed to this report.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.