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Town Administrator Jay Green said the resurfacing of Howland Avenue will go from the Adams-North Adams border to just north of the roundabout.

MassDOT to Resurface Adams' Howland Avenue

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The state Department of Transportation is set to resurface all four lanes of Howland Avenue in fiscal 2023, with work expected to begin in the fall. 

 

"We don't know the exact number; we do know that the scope is, essentially, just north of the roundabout, all the way up to the city line by Bounti-Fare," said Town Administrator Jay Green at Wednesday's Board of Selectmen meeting. "The methodology of the resurfacing is yet to be determined. MassDOT engineers need to come out and work with our DPW to do core samples to determine the condition of the roadway that's underneath the surface." 

 

The poor condition of Howland Avenue and other issues on the road, such as speeding and accidents, have become a focus for town officials. Green clarified that the resurfacing work does not mean the end of the Howland Avenue redesign project, which the town showed the first concept designs for in March

 

"The idea is to get us, at least, all the way through until we can reduce the road size and execute our master plan for that road, which folks know we are undertaking," he said. "Our engineers are studying collecting public feedback about it and tweaking that design." 

 

Green said work on Howland Avenue would not be possible without help, specifically mentioning Francisca Heming, District 1 highway director, and state Rep. John Barrett III. 

 

"We spent a lot of time strategizing, we spent a lot of time advocating and, as I said, those folks I think really came through for Adams," he said. "We'll monitor the project and we'll and keep the public informed. I think this is great news for the town and it's not going to affect any dollars on our end at all." 

 

The town's been complaining about the condition of the road for years, especially compared to the recently paved Curran Highway in North Adams. The state owns that section of Route 8 but not the road that runs through Adams. Motorists have been riding in the lefthand lane on Howland to avoid the potholes and cracks in the righthand lane.

 

In other business, Raymond Gargan Jr. of ProAdams updated the board on organizational projects funded by Rapid Recovery Program and state Office of Travel & Tourism grants. These projects include the wayfinding signs, which Gargan helped present to the Zoning Board of Appeals last month; new brochures for the town, web advertising and an updated exploreadams.com website. 

 

"Berkshire County has a great tourism economy, but Adams doesn't get much of that," he said, noting they used as much of the town's existing brand and colors as possible in the designs. "... The idea was to try to leverage some of those attractions that we do have." 

 

The first set of signs, Gargan said, is expected to be completed and ready for installation in the next several weeks. Green thanked the work ProAdams and other organizations are doing with the town. 

 

"You're making a difference, and this community is ever so slowly evolving into the community that we know it can become," he said.


Tags: MassDOT,   paving,   

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Adams Parks Commission Considering Options for Renfrew Bleachers

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — The Parks Commission is looking for solutions for the bleachers at Renfrew Field, after debate over their arrangement on the field in recent months. 

 

Currently, three sets of bleachers are on the south side of the field, when in previous years, two were on the south side, with two on the north. The bleachers had been arranged that way over the summer, something the board voiced support for in July

 

The commission's previous meeting had a larger-than-normal audience to give input on the issue, after the board received a letter from the Adams Cheshire Youth Football League expressing confusion from parents, coaches and others over the change. Commission co-Chair Jacob Schutz said he and others have since looked into portable bleachers, which can move without the need for heavy machinery. 

 

"We looked out there, and the first thing we found is they are very expensive," he said. "Twenty-five thousand dollars on average, and we'd probably need at least two for one side to match something like what we had." 

 

Town staff has explained that constantly moving the heavy bleachers and equipment around the field can cause wear on the field. Equipment operator Mark Pizani said they have installed tires on the current bleachers to move them, which requires a loader to lift the bleachers and pull them to where they need to go on the field. 

 

"If something like this was permanent and didn't have to be taken apart, and you could just do it, we could push them or pull them with something smaller," he said. 

 

Commission Co-Chair James Fassell was not present for the meeting but had previously suggested moving one set of bleachers from the southeast side of the field to the southwest side. He had expressed concerns at the previous meeting about emergency vehicles and accessibility with the current placement. 

 

Pizani explained that this is not a viable option because of banking on the west side of the field, which would prevent the bleachers from being level. 

 

"You would have to actually dig into the ground, and there's underground wires there," he said. "It's really just not feasible." 

 

Selectman Joseph Nowak suggested that the commission reach out to the Adams Agricultural Fair to use their bleachers, which he said are lightweight and made of aluminum. He said it would benefit elderly spectators, so they don't have to walk as far, and would get them through the rest of the season. 

 

Schutz said he does not feel the board has the authority to tell the leagues which side of the field they use as the home side. He said the high school and the leagues that use the field should decide for themselves which side they want to use. 

 

In other business, the group was updated on the new shed at Valley Street Field. Pizani said the shed looks fantastic the students from McCann Technical School who put it together did a good job. 

 

"They sent me a text thanking us for considering them [to build the shed] and letting the kids do it. That's a great thing," he said. 

 

Schutz suggested that the board write a letter thanking the students for building the shed.

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