Pittsfield is prioritizing the streets that will be repaired this spring.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — City Hall officials have begun to assess costs and prioritize street projects in what they say has been one of the worst seasons for road deterioration in recent years.
In addition to an earlier than usual onset of specific pothole trouble spots, 67 streets currently have requests for road repaving improvement, projects that range widely in scope and cost. The Department of Public Works has developed some preliminary estimates for a plan that would include less than 20 streets, but a definitive picture will not emerge until closer to budget time.
"At this point a final list is not available," Public Works Commissioner Bruce Collingwood told the City Council's subcommittee on Public Works this week.
The department has composed a short list of priority projects estimated to total around $5.2 million, that it put forward on Monday at the request of a petition from Council Vice President Christopher Connell. The city will receive approximately $1.3 million from the state through Chapter 90 funding, with the rest of road repair needs shouldered by the city budget.
Seven sizable streets in need of milling and resurfacing are expected to cost more than $3.2 million, from a $211,000 project on Downing Parkway to $660,000 in work needed on Dan Fox Drive. Smaller reclamation paving projects are being proposed as priorities by the Department of Public Works on 10 more streets: Hancock, South Mountain, Perrine, Norman, Scammel, Broadview, Bryant, Chapel, and Dowse Place, and Larch, expected to total about $1.8 million.
The department is also proposing $180,000 to repair the two worst of a series of dilapidated park entrance roads, at Kirvin Park and at Marchisio, an idea that sparked differing views from councilors on the committee.
"Some of the park roads are an embarrassment," said Collingwood, who said the city's parks draw many outside visitors in addition to high volumes of local traffic. "I think we as a city need to do more in this area."
"Even though they may need it, I personally don't agree that those entrances to parks should take a priority over streets where people live," said Councilor Anthony Simonelli.
"Not that the parks aren't important," agreed Councilor Kevin Morandi, "I'd rather see a street taken care of before a park entrance."
Councilor Nicholas Caccamo endorsed the proposal, however, noting that the volume of traffic at those parks from school sports and other activities is much higher than on some small unaccepted streets.
"It seems like a small price tag," said Caccamo, of that portion of the overall $5.2 million proposal. "I would certainly support that going forward."
"I think it's important to have this discussion," Collingwood said, re-emphasizing the preliminary nature of these plans. "We as a city, at some point need to make that investment. When that will be happen, time will tell. But I think it's important to have these discussions now."
"Depending on what the budget is, the city's engineers will take a look at all the requests, evaluate them, and work with the Mayor to try to put forward a final list," Collingwood told the committee.
Collingwood said he anticipated having a more precise idea of what the budget will come in at by May, and a final list of streets for repair shortly thereafter.