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Abutters look over plans for the replacement of the bridge in two years and the detour that will be created through Burbank Park during the 60-day construction.
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Pittsfield's Lakeway Drive Bridge Set for 2020 Replacement

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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The single-lane temporary bridge was installed in 2012.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state Department of Transportation expects to have the Lakeway Drive bridge replaced by summer 2020.
 
A public hearing held Tuesday night in Council Chambers at City Hall seeking input on the $2 million project attracted about a dozen people, with only a few wanting to know about access and traffic impacts during the construction.
 
"We will persevere because we've been waiting as you know," said abutter John Bresnahan. "I'm sure that everyone here who is an abutter is pleased to have this project moving along."
 
The concrete bridge was closed in 2012 after it was found to be structurally deficient. The 1936 span shows significant corrosion, spalling of the concrete, and severe deterioration of its steel girders, which caused the bridge to be load-restricted. A temporary, one-lane steel bridge was installed over the older bridge, with stop signs on each end.
 
About two dozen properties are located on the south side of the bridge or are on the short roadway leading up to it from the north. The span crosses Onoto Brook, which connects Onota Lake to the Onoto Dam Conservation Area. Lakeway Drive is a dead end that terminates at the city's property along Onota Lake.
 
The project will remove both bridges and the abutments will be cut down and capped off to make way for a new structure. 
 
The superstructure will span over the cutdown existing abutments," said Josh Nishball of CME Associates, the design consultant for the project. "The new bridge will be 63 feet in length. It will be made of concrete beams and concrete bridge deck."
 
The new bridge will have a 27-foot wide span for two lanes of traffic and pedestrian ways on both sides. The project will also include 200 feet of reconstructed roadway, improved sight distances, paving on the bridge and approaches, new wider concrete sidewalks, new guardrails, and new aprons and drainage structures. 
 
The new bridge will also be accessible and up to Americans with Disabilities Act and Architectural Access Board standards.
 
"We estimate the total project will cost $2 million, which will come 80 percent from federal funding and the other 20 percent of MassDOT funds," said Stephen Somo, project manager for the state Department of Transportation. That cost does not include any rights of way, which will be up to the city to acquire if needed. 
 
Bresnahan said he understood that sometimes the state moves at a glacial pace but wondered whether the funds were locked in, how the detour was going to work and why had it taken so long?
 
"It's just the speed of the MassDOT projects. They require a thorough review on the state end," Nishball said. "The design process is not as fast as everyone would like them to be."
 
Design work began in late 2016 and the 25 percent design being shown at Tuesday's public hearing had been submitted last year. Feedback from the hearing would be included in the 100 percent design to be submitted on Sept. 15.  
 
The project is being funded through the 2019 Transportation Improvement Program for the Berkshire Metropolitan Planning Organization. A raft of environmental and construction permits have already been filed.  
 
The road will be closed for 60 days during removal and construction that should occur between May and June in 2020. The 
 
"The bridge will remain open during the early stages of construction," Nishball said. "The detour route will be required during the closure and it is the same route that was used during the temporary bridge installation in 2012."
 
That detour would go along the lake from Burbank Park, a roadway currently closed to through traffic. The gates would be opened and the roadway would be temporarily paved during construction and then removed and returned to its original condition, Nishball said. 
 
John Zalenski wanted to know about future traffic impacts that could be caused by the bridge. 
 
"There are related problems with traffic flow on that street, including parking, litter, noise and questionable activities at the end of the road," he said. 
 
Nishball said traffic had not been a part of the review but he would make a note to look into it. 

Tags: bridge project,   MassDOT,   public hearing,   

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Reid Civics Class Holds Virtual Town Hall With Senator Hinds

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Reid Middle School students got a chance to quiz their state senator on Tuesday to kick off a student-led civics project.
 
The eighth-grade class prepared the questions for state Sen. Adam Hinds that were then vetted and chosen by the student civics leaders who represent each civics class.
 
Questions ranged from hates crime legislation, the First Amendment, the vaccination rollout, and getting back to a "new normal."
 
Principal Michael Henault said it was the changes made in 2018 to the state's history and social science curriculum framework that led to the virtual town hall with the senator. The core priority of the curriculum change was emphasizing and expanding civics education and supporting eighth-graders in a student-led civics project.
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