ADAMS, Mass. — The residents of nearly a dozen homes will be detoured over the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail for up to two years while the Quality Street Bridge is being replaced.
The state Department of Transportation is anticipating construction to begin in fall 2025 and to take from one to two years. Residents on the dead-end South Willow Street will employ an easement to Grove Street first used when the bridge was constructed back in 1950.
"It's a rather large bridge and the demolition is going to take a while," said structural engineer Micah Morrison at Thursday's public hearing. "There's a whole process that's involved, but it does take a while."
The bridge was rated as poor when it was inspected in September.
"The outside girders, which are the main load carrying members are heavily rusted," said Morrison. "The bottom photo shows a hole in the stringer that supports the bridge deck. Due to this deterioration, the bridge was analyzed and vehicular weight restrictions were imposed."
The 82-foot steel bridge will be replaced by a 96-foot prestressed concrete span and the overhead wires will be relocated to the north of the bridge. A temporary utility bridge will be installed to carry a 20-inch water main and 2-inch gas main.
The substandard guardrail will be updated, he said, and the roadway repaved "with a robust asphalt providing a stable base layer to provide a safe, modern, low-maintenance bridge with a minimum service like 75 years."
The bridge is at least 75 years old — the girders were used in Pittsfield to carry Pomeroy Avenue over the Housatonic River until a new bridge was installed there in 1950. It was part of the Maple Grove project that straightened out and widened Grove Street over the Hoosic River and rail line, and cost an estimated $500,000 total the time. The small wooden bridge to South Willow Street was removed (along with some homes) and Quality Street extended to connect the landlocked road.
MassDOT says the bridge carries about 129 vehicles a day. The bridge replacement was approved in 2020 and it is currently at 25 percent design with permitting and 75 percent design to be reached this year. Bidding is anticipated for summer of 2025 with construction beginning that fall.
It has an estimated cost of $4.1 million and is planned to be funded through the 2025 Transportation Improvement Program for the Berkshire Metropolitan Planning Organization. Federal highway funding will account for 80 percent of the cost.
The town is responsible for acquiring the five permanent and nine temporary easements for the project.
"Environmental permitting was minimized by lengthening the bridge and building the proposed substructure behind the existing substructure project," said Morrison. "It will acquire the appropriate federal and state environmental permits prior to advertising the project."
With the bridge connecting South Willow to Quality Street inaccessible, the residents of South Willow will be directed east over the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail to access Grove Street. Temporary traffic controls will be installed on the rail trail.
Morrison did not anticipate any problems with traffic rolling over the pedestrian and bike trail.
"We understand that's a concern but when we've looked at other crossings of the rail trail there are multiple other crossings, at grade crossings, along the rail trail," he said. "There will be minimal vehicles that will be using this but we will be looking into it further as the project moves forward."
No residents asked questions during the virtual hearing but John C. Barrett, superintendent for the Adams Water Department, said he had not been informed about the plans and asked that the district be included on any communications.
Questions and comments can be sent to MassDOTProjectManagement@dot.state.ma.us or to Carrie Lavallee, P.E. Chief Engineer, 10 Park Plaza, Boston MA 012116, Attn: Project Management, Project File No. 610777.
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Adams Allocates Additional Funds To Progress Glen Outdoor Center Solar
Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The selectmen unanimously voted to transfer $25,000 from the capital reserve fund to pay for a geotechnical survey needed to install solar panels on the Greylock Glens Outdoor Center campus.
Town Administrator Jay Green told the selectmen Wednesday, Feb. 21, that although state funding has covered much of the actual construction of the Outdoor Center, there are still some ancillary costs the town has to sort out, including the installation of solar panels to make the building a net-zero-energy building.
"Once the funding came through the state it was enough to put up four walls and a roof, but there are some other components of the building including the solar," Green said. "It had never been fully fleshed out and it was hard to predict when we would strike gold and get the funding."
In 2022, the state committed $6.5 million to fund the construction of the Greylock Glen Outdoor Center. Since then, the town has gathered additional funding for the $8.3 million project The outdoor center is expected to open later this year, and the camping facility within the next couple of years. The town is developing about 50 acres of the 1,000-acre glen as a recreational and educational hub.
Green said, working with the architects, it was agreed that it would be best to place solar panels on the to-be-built carports, and the town partnered with the company Soltec to explore implementation.
Greylock Glen Outdoor Center Director Michael Wynn said normally Soltec would completely fund the design, implementation, and operation of the solar carports. Ultimately, the town would purchase the solar electricity from Soltec once everything was up and running.
However, Soltec can only expend money after an agreement between the company and the town is passed by a town meeting, which would normally take place in the summer.
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