WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (wwlp) - The West Springfield Route 20 railroad bridge raising project may ultimately be decided in a court of law.
West Springfield stopped work on the state project just as it began Monday saying the Massachusetts Department of Transportation had failed to make the proper notifications or file for a permit to work within 100 feet of vegetative wetlands or within 200 feet of a stream.
West Springfield conservation officer and assistant town planner, Mark Noonan told 22News the town's only asking that the state comply with the Wetlands Protection Act, a state law. That would entail the state filing a notice of intent, followed by a public hearing and a determination by the Conservation Commission whether the work could move forward, under certain restrictions.
On Wednesday, DOT spokesman Michael Verseckes told 22News "MASS DOT has the right to proceed with work on raising the bridge on route 20, and intends to resume work Thursday."
The West Side Conservation Commission met Wednesday night and decided to send a "cease and desist" order to the DOT and its contractors, insisting they abide by the Wetlands Protection Act.
"It's s fair process, set up by the state, and we have gone through this over the last four years, and the state, in its arrogance is saying 'no, we're Mass DOT. We are exempt. And we don't have to do this,'" Noonan told 22News.
Once the Cease and Desist order goes out in certified mail, the state will have until June 8th to respond to the Conservation Commission's enforcement order. Noonan said if they don't comply, the town is prepared to take the state to court.
Noonan told 22News, "We've told them this back in January. That had they filed, they would have had their permit by now. Our turnaround time is about 30 days."