PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It should be only a matter of weeks before the Narragansett Avenue causeway bridge is replaced.
But, the passing of state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi has caused some unknowns.
The state was looking to reconstruct the bridge last year and the town began securing the needed easements. But, five pieces of land around the bridge are in control of the Department of Capital Asset Management and protected by Article 97 — a conservation restriction requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to remove it for the construction.
Cariddi had hoped to usher along that vote, but the town was late in issuing a legal notice, and the bill got entered with only two weeks left of in last year's legislative session. The House of Representatives clerk reviewed it and determined the bridge was "navigable waters" — though not much more than a kayak could get under the bridge — and it had to get approval from the secretary of state's office. The bill did not make it to a vote before the end of the session.
Meanwhile, the town continued to proceed with securing a total of 18 easements allowing the state to perform the work. Cariddi re-submitted the bill when the latest legislative session opened earlier this year, and since then it has been going through the process. It is currently at the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, awaiting to be passed out of committee.
Town Manager Paul Sieloff said the state has plans to start working in mid-July. But, "I do not know the potential impact is with Gail's passing." He believes the bill will continue through the process; someone else will have to help push it along.
Board of Selectman Chairman John Goerlach said Maxymilian Construction is "mobilizing." According to the state Department of Transportation's website, the winning bid was $5,950,513.15 and a notice to proceed was issued at the end of May. Selectman Henry "Hank" Sayers said a groundbreaking was scheduled but that got delayed with Cariddi's death. He said it hasn't been rescheduled yet.
The plan will be for the state to build a temporary bridge and then reconstruct a new one. Sieloff said the good news is MassDOT is now looking at putting in a small parking lot near the bridge. The causeway is used heavily by people for fishing or launching kayaks, but there is a lack of parking. A small lot would allow for vehicles to be off the road next to the causeway.
In other business, resident Stephen Ciepiela asked the Board of Selectmen for help in controlling noise from Matt Reilly's Pub. Ciepiela is a neighbor and said that this year, there has been loud music, talking, and people throwing garbage onto his property late at night.
"They stay out until 11, 12, 1," he told the Selectmen. "I have to close every window in my house."
Ciepiela has called the police multiple times. Police Chief Timothy Sorrell said there is little the department can do about it.
"They aren't serving on the deck and there is nothing stopping them from being on the deck," Sorrell said.
The Selectmen told Ciepiela to keep calling the police when noise is too loud. The board told him to start getting a record of incidents in which any noise ordinances are broken because right now it is only Ciepiela's opinion of what is too loud versus Matt Reilly's.
The Board of Selectmen also approved a new landfill monitoring contract. The waterline project up Ore Bed Road has translated to annual cost savings with the reductions of the number of test sites required. The town has been paying for well testing since contaminants were found in residents' drinking water there and some believe it could be coming from the landfill, though it that hasn't been proven.
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Pittsfield Developing Plan for Bicycle Network
By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
The first public meeting on the master plan was held Wednesday.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city is developing plans to make Pittsfield safer and more accessible to bicycling.
The first public meeting for the Pittsfield Bicycle Facilities Master Plan was held on Wednesday but the plan has been in the works for the last year or two, said City Planner CJ Hoss.
Though Pittsfield has a few areas with bike lanes or shared road lanes, the city would like to take a more progressive approach with simple roadwork projects or more extensive plans in the future to try and take on more ambitious, safer bike facilities.
"There's a need to take a citywide approach," Hoss said.
On Friday morning, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association released the sport-specific modifications that on Thursday unanimously were approved by the association’s COVID-19 Task Force. click for more
The MIAA Board of Directors Wednesday morning approved a plan that moves football and other sports the commonwealth considers at a high-risk for COVID-19 transmission to a newly created Fall II season that will be wedged between the winter and spring. click for more
Once the tallest elm in New England, the more than 200-year-old tree is now missing at least 10 foot section from his topmost branches from a combination of a weak trunk and winds from Tropical Storm Isaias that blew through the region Tuesday.
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