Here is an update, provided by Joshua Garcia, Town Administrator:
Gates at Cobble Mountain Road – Explained
For some time, I have heard from many of you concerns regarding gates put up by Springfield Water and Sewer on Cobble Mountain Road. After much review, I am going to share with you what we have learned so far followed by a request for action. Here is what we know:
The road was originally a county road but Hampden County government was dissolved in 1997 which later in 1999 by G.L. c. 34B §6, all rights, title and interest in real or personal property owned by an abolished county government was then transferred to the Commonwealth and thereafter the legislature gave the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) jurisdiction of said property – in this case Cobble Mountain road. Therefore, the road at its entire length currently is under the jurisdiction of DCAMM. In 2004, under Chapter 291 of the Acts of 2004, the legislature authorized DCAMM to temporarily discontinue that portion of Cobble Mountain Road between the Towns of Blandford and Granville. This portion of the road – plus the 1.75 miles of road from the line – had been temporarily closed since April 23, 2002 as a result of expressed concerns by the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission based in the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. As you’re aware, a gate exists in the Town of Blandford 1.75 miles away from the Town of Blandford and Russell town line, which is the beginning of the stretch of road moving into Russell and then Granville where DCAMM is authorized. What we learned however is that DCAMM is not, based upon what we know, permitted to transfer any of the road located in Blandford to the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission. The forgoing Chapter 291 authorized DCAMM to transfer certain portions of Cobble Mountain Road to the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission which sections of road are located fully within the towns of Granville and Russell and NOT in the Town of Blandford. To date, the transfer does not appear to have occurred – although since we have started to research this and have inquired of our interest, Springfield Water and Sewer has been actively seeking for DCAMM to convey the identified portion to them.
Why opening the road is important
At the September 21 Board of Selectmen meeting, the board approved to send a letter to DCAMM requesting that they do not convey that portion of the road to Springfield Water, but instead open it all up for public access. The most important reason why we need this road open is in the matter of public safety to local area residents. Cobble Mountain Road – the entire length in Blandford to Granville – provides important access for a number of purposes, not the least of which is that according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (“MEMA”) the entire road is currently an emergency evacuation route for the Town of Blandford and others. Additionally, the closure of the Road requires public safety mutual aid between the towns to be delayed by requiring public safety vehicles and emergency medical transports to travel an additional 15-20 miles out of the way — if not more — in order to fulfill emergency services to the residents of the area towns.
I am requesting for Blandford residents to consider sending a letter to Commissioner of DCAMM requesting for them to open the road for the matter of public safety and to not convey any portion of the road to Springfield Water and Sewer. Here is the contact:
Carol Gladstone, Commissioner
Division of Capital Asset Management
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108