Dalton Traffic Commission Adds Support to Infrastructure Ask
DALTON, Mass. — The town's Traffic Commission fully supports a proposal by Select Board member John Boyle to try to advance a walkway project for the Housatonic Street bridge for possible funding under the anticipated federal infrastructure bill.
The project had been fully engineered and slated to be part of a previous federal road project completed in 2018, but was deleted from the final draft. Boyle has pointed out that the way the current sidewalk ends at the bridge is unsafe for pedestrians.
Based on most recent engineering, the estimated cost for the walkway would be around $3 million.
"Which is chicken feed, when you're talking about federal funds and billions of dollars in construction," Boyle told the Select Board, adding that U.S. Rep. Richard Neal's office believes it to be "a worthy project, easily fundable."
Dalton's Traffic Commission has now voted unanimously in favor of the plan, and pledged to write a letter of support to Neal's office, new Town Manager Tom Hutchinson reported on Monday.
"Everything is based on an infrastructure plan being approved by the U.S. Government, and [this] funding becoming available to communities," said Hutchinson.
In other town business:
• A troubling issue with local police radio communication has been temporarily solved, and the Select Board on Monday moved to make funds available to fix it permanently. Chief Deanna Strout said the Berkshire County Sheriff's Department has temporarily loaned Dalton the needed equipment, which was installed free of charge by Pittsfield Communications. Town funds made available through an interdepartmental budget transfer by the Select Board will only be used in the event that department is unsuccessful at securing a grant it has applied for, with the outcome to be announced in August.
• The Select Board endorsed a proclamation for National Police Week (May 9-15) and the lowering of the flag to half staff on May 15, National Peace Officers Memorial Day.
• Reopening of the Dalton Senior Center has been tentatively approved for May 17, provided the town's COVID-19 level has dropped from yellow to green by that time. Council on Aging Director Kelly Pizzi provided the Select Board with a 20-minute presentation outlining extensive safety protocols. The Board of Health signed off on the reopening plan at a meeting earlier in the day.