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MPO Allocates Additional Funds For Adams Transportation Projects

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
05:16PM / Wednesday, March 19, 2014
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The MPO unanimously approved allocating the additional funds needed to complete two transportation projects in Adams.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Despite two projects growing more expensive, there are still federal funds available to help revamp the town of Adams.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization approved utilizing an additional $250,000 to construct the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail from Hoosac Street to Lime Street — which includes the Berkshire Scenic Railway.

"That project was previously designed and funded in the 2012 TIP. But as a result of the Berkshire Scenic Rail re-establishing themselves along that segment, that project was put on hold and went through a redesign," said Clete Kus, a planner at Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, said. "That resulted in additional project cost."

Those additional funds are coming from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program, in which the county had unspent funds to use.

The Ashuwillticook funds are penned for fiscal 2014 and there will be $2 million left in a federal earmark for future expansions. The additional $250,000 is being pulled from another federal source — bringing the total cost up to $3.2 million.

The plans for the trail moving forward is to extend the trail from Lime Street to Hodges Cross Road in North Adams and then to Heritage State Park.

Meanwhile, the city of Pittsfield is moving forward with designing a section of the trail from the Berkshire Mall to Crane Avenue. From Crane Avenue, the trail is eyed to be extended to Williams Street. After that section, the trail construction will jump to Lee for three sections.

The MPO also finalized $1.9 million for the roundabout project at the intersection of Route 8 and Friend Street in Adams. That called for an additional $489,451 from the federal Highway Safety Improvement program.

Also in this year, the MPO allocated an additional $135,000 in federal funds for operating assistance to the Transportation Association of the Northern Berkshires.

In other business, BRPC has revisited its list of projects using federal funds, which are administered through the state Department of Transportation. Pittsfield has the top two projects — the Berkshire Medical Center intersection project, which is currently being designed, and revamping the intersection of Route 20 and West Housatonic Street.

The BMC project is estimated at $5.4 million and the Route 20 project at $1.4 million.

The next highest ranking projects is to renovate East Street from Lyman Street to Merrill Road in Pittsfield and then the Route 8 and Friend Street roundabout in Adams. Those projects are eyed to cost $6.5 million and $1.9 million respectively.

Those rankings will contribute to the next phase of programming projects for the county. The MPO manages the county's Transportation Improvement Program, which prioritizes federal funds for the state Department of Transportation.


Tags: Ashuwillticook Rail Trail,   intersection,   MPO,   roundabout,   scenic rail,   

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