Petition seeks to save portion of River Road

A nonbinding citizens petition article on the warrant for Monday’s Special Town Meeting seeks to save a portion of River Road that collapsed in the Mother’s Day flood of 2006 and has been closed ever since. The road was further damaged by erosion during a 2010 storm, and repair estimates from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Division run between $3 million and $5 million dollars. The Board of Selectmen has voted to permanently close the damaged portion of the road, about one-half mile, but should the board reverse that decision, the town would still need to fund the repairs, probably with a debt exclusion override of Proposition 2½. “We’ve searched for funding since it was closed, at all levels: federal, state, and local,” said finance director Carol McLeod. The article is one of 12 on the warrant for the Special Town Meeting, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Sweetsir School, Church Street. The road is actually owned by abutters, but was established as a county highway by easement. The Merrimac Valley Planning Commission will continue its hearing on closing the road on Oct. 30 at Town Hall, at 2 p.m.