Clarksburg Bridge Should Reopen This Fall

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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The East Road Bridge should reopen this fall after being closed since Tropical Storm Irene hit. Left, what started as a dip in the road has continued to buckle since last fall.
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — East Road could be open to through traffic again as early as mid-October.

The Selectmen on Wednesday morning awarded the contract to J.H. Maxymillian of Pittsfield to replace the collapsing structure. The winning bid was $274,276.05, the lowest of the 10 bids received and less than half the highest bid of $691,425 from an eastern Massachusetts company.

The board determined not to accept the alternate bid that included an additional $11,856 for paving the road from the bridge to River Road because that section had been paved within the last few years.

Foresight Land Services, which engineered the project, reviewed the bids to ensure they conformed with the project's parameters.

The other bids ranged between $380,000 and $470,000, which Chairman Carl McKinney said were well beyond the town's budgeted funds.

The town had targeted some $300,000 in Chapter 90 highway funds saved toward the project. McKinney the town should end up with about $120,000 left in the account this year. "We should be in good shape," he said.

Town Administrator Thomas Webb said Maxymillian should begin work in the next three to five weeks depending on when the materials can be ready. The completion date is expected to be some time in October.

The work includes replacing the current culvert over an offshoot of the North Branch with an aluminum closed box culvert with a lifespan of about 50 years. The bridge had been scheduled for replacement because of general deterioration but Tropical Storm Irene caused the west side of the bridge to severely buckle. The road had been usable but was closed after the storm hit Aug. 28, 2011.

Officials sought to get emergency funding related to the storm for the project but was rejected by several agencies because of the prior planning. 

"The real killer is we had it looked at right before Irene," said Webb.

With the East Road Bridge set for repairs, the town will now look to fix a crossing on Gates Avenue with some of the savings. Webb said design and bidding will begin with the hopes of getting it done before fall. That damage also occurred during Irene.

"We want to get Gates Avenue done before winter flies," he said.

Tags: bridge,   Irene,   roadwork,   

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