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Adams Conservation Commission Sees Route 8 Plans

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Before VHB's presentation, engineer Jeff Randall shows the commission plans for the construction of a new garage and house addition on Burt Street.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Conservation Commission saw plans to overhaul a portion of Route 8 that will improve road condition and drainage, and narrow the road.
 
Christine Champeau and Gene Crouch of VHB on Thursday and went over plans to rebuild about a mile of Route 8 from the Liberty Street intersection to where the bridge on Grove Street crosses over the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail.
 
"There is a little bit of riverfront area there that we are in," Champeau said. "We pass over two bridges over the Hoosic River."
 
The project will be funded by the state Department of Transportation but the town is on the hook for the design.
 
Champeau said the resurfacing will be full-depth pavement and will reduce the road width to about 11-foot lanes with 5-foot shoulders. 
 
"It will be a nice new surface and I know that is one thing the residents are unhappy about — the current pavement conditions out there," she said.
 
The sidewalks will also be revamped on both sides of the road over the entire span of the project.
 
Champeau said they are working in conjunction with the Water Department, which also plans to do some work in this section of town. She said they do not want to put down new pavement just to have it ripped up again.
 
Commissioner Thomas Robinson made an unrelated comment about the narrowing of the road and noted it would be more difficult, especially during the winter, to pass on the right.
 
"That's what we need to slow the traffic down ... at least you had a shot to get by them. Now you don''t," he said. "That is just one man's opinion, it doesn't matter."
 
Commissioner Natasha Bordeaux said it may be good to slow traffic down a bit on Route 8. She added that people may pay more attention while driving.
 
Champeau said narrowing the road would eliminate nearly 1,700 square feet of pavement.
 
Crouch explained that the new drainage — that includes13 rain gardens — will help filter water before releasing it.
 
"Its is like a landscape planter for the sidewalk so it should look pretty nice and have a nice function," he said. 
 
Robinson liked the proposed system but was concerned it would mean more work for the  town's Department of Public Works.
 
Director of Community Development Donna Cesan agreed but noted there were more involved drainage options the town could have taken that would need a higher amount of maintenance. She added that now that the town is in the state MS4 (multiple separate storm sewer systems) program this is work the DPW will have to do anyways.
 
"It is something the DPW will have to be trained on ... but this is something we are going to have to be doing more of," she said.
 
Crouch touched on some state Department of Conservation and Recreation concerns, including the stormwater management system that he suspects DCR does not approve of because the chosen system is not directly out of the "stormwater handbook." He said this system is a creative solution and improves the system by 25 percent. 
 
The commission did not have a quorum so took no vote nor furthered discussion. 

Tags: MassDOT,   road project,   route 8,   

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Adams' Fallen Heroes Project Finds A Sponsor

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The "Banners for Fallen Heroes" project has found a sponsor. 
 
The project, which will honor Adams' servicemen and -women killed while serving the country with a banner hanging from utility poles through downtown, caught the eye of Adams Community Bank and it has stepped up to cover the associated costs.
 
"This is a no-brainer for our hometown. We know there will be some press obviously but we're not looking for that. This was something that was just right to do," said President and CEO Charlie O'Brien at this week's Fallen Heroes committee meeting. "These people have served our country so well, so nobly. Once we got some of the details everything just fell into place. It was something we had to do. We're happy and honored to be part of this project."
 
Selectman James Bush is part of the group and had trouble believing what he was hearing when he got the call from Senior Vice President of Lending Maureen Baran.
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