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Salem Residents Fight To Save Cobblestone Road Uncovered During Construction

SALEM (CBS)-- It makes for one bumpy car ride.

It's murder on high heels, bicycles, and wheelchairs, but residents of one Salem, Massachusetts neighborhood are fighting to save a cobblestone road.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," said John Carr. "You know if you go to the Campo in Sienna. If you go to the area around the Madeleine in Paris or London, it's all cobble."

Salem isn't Europe, but it is one of New England's most popular historic spots, and a place where residents are passionate about preservation.

Road crews discovered the 134-year-old cobble when they recently prepared River and Lynn Streets for repaving, and tore up the black-top.

"We were just blown away by what good shape they're in," said Carr.

But crews already paved over part of the cobble, and told neighbors they planned to smooth out the rest, leaving only a small strip for decoration.

"They were covered up for a reason," explained Jason Silva, Director of Municipal Operations. "There are handicap accessibility issues. There are grade and slope issues in that neighborhood."

Crews had planned to finish the job Thursday, but have now been told to hold off until city leaders and engineers can have more discussions with neighbors.

"We certainly want to work with the residents of this beautiful neighborhood," said Silva.

But as he spoke, the heavy equipment had already moved into the work site, making it look a lot like a stand-off between ye old New England, and modern engineering.

The resident cobblestone activists say they'll be watching.

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