NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — For the next three months, local motorists will get a taste of what they have been waiting six years for.
The full two lanes of the Hadley Overpass opened on Thursday — but work isn't completed.
According to Mayor Richard Alcombright, the state Department of Transportation removed the barriers limiting traffic to one lane until construction resumes in March.
"It's fully opened. They put lines down today and it should be fully passable," Alcombright said.
Traffic has been reduced on the bridge for nearly six years as the 70-year-old structure was refurbished. What was envisioned as a three- to four-year project is now more than two years behind schedule because workers found the bridge's steel was in worse condition than they thought.
But there is a light at the end of the ... uh ... bridge. Alcombright says the state has set a mid-June end date for all construction.
"They ran into much more significant steel work than expected," he said. "But five months from now, hopefully, we'll be standing on it saying 'it's done.'"
Alcombright said the remaining work on a 10-by-100-foot section was too complicated to be done during the winter. Construction on that section will resume in mid-March and that amount of work is expected to take four to six weeks — leaving a two-month window in case workers find more troubling steel.
"I'm very confident in that June date," Alcombright said. "We'll be so happy when it is done."
That buffer space could end up being useful because it is still impossible to tell the condition of the steel underneath that section of road.
"You can't see what the deck is sitting on," the mayor said.
Nonetheless, residents can get a "good look at what this will look like" when the work is completed.
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