SALISBURY — Town officials canceled plans on Friday to use Ferry Road as a detour while Bridge Road is paved for the next five weeks starting Monday.
The project is for final trench paving for a massive water main replacement project that began in late 2020.
The $3 million project was planned to take advantage of the state’s repaving of Route 1, which was scheduled to begin this fall. But an updated construction schedule recently revealed the state project has been delayed and will not start in Salisbury until next fall.
Although contractor Defelice Corp. of Dracut completed its water main work, the road is in poor condition with numerous potholes, forcing some motorists to drive in the breakdown lane.
Upon hearing that all northbound traffic would be diverted onto Ferry Road, about six Bridge Road business owners called Town Manager Neil Harrington on Wednesday to voice their concerns.
Harrington, who said he was out of town when the Ferry Road proposal was finalized, met with town officials Thursday and abandoned the Ferry Road detour idea.
“It was not acceptable so we changed it,” Harrington said. “It would have been too harmful for businesses on Bridge Road.”
Salisbury police Chief Thomas Fowler said he was asked by Harrington to come up with an alternative plan as a result.
Instead of detouring northbound traffic on Ferry Road from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, alternating traffic would be allowed on Bridge Road so those businesses can be visited.
The traffic pattern would look very familiar to motorists who endured long delays over the summer. But according to Public Works Director Lisa DeMeo, delays will be longer as the equipment used for paving would be “much larger and take up more of the roadway.”
“Businesses will be open during the paving activity. If your destination is not on Bridge Road, your journey will be faster if you use an alternative route,” Demeo said in a statement Friday.
Harrington said Ferry Road residents should expect to see a traffic increase regardless since motorists familiar with the area use the road as an alternative route. He also hopes motorists coming from New Hampshire avoid the area altogether and take Interstate 95 to get to town.
Daily News reporter Jim Sullivan contributed to this report.
Dave Rogers is a reporter with the Daily News of Newburyport. Email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.