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Homeowners on Barton Hill Road are worried that digging by Eversource will damage their properties, citing uncompleted work by a different utility.

Dalton Select Board Continues Eversource Public Hearing

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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DALTON, Mass. — A public hearing on special permit for Eversource to upgrade the utility's infrastructure was continued last week for a third time because of concerns expressed by residents of Barton Hill Road.
The public hearing was opened on March 11 under the agenda item "Pole Relocation Request" but was continued because a representative from Eversouce was not present to answer questions from residents. 
During the April 8 Select Board meeting, the hearing was reopened, during which it was clarified that the initial paperwork stating that the hearing was for poles to be installed was incorrect.
The electric company had actually submitted an application for a special permit to install underground conduits and cables in front of 126 and 170 Barton Hill Road. 
Barton Hill residents were worried about the location of the underground splice pits and questioned the impact the excavation would have on their properties.  
Eversource line worker apprentice Brandon Owen clarified at the April meeting that the utility will carve out a silo in front of each of the properties along the road edge on the town taking land.
The work would not cut the sidewalks or road, Owen said. The contractors will be using Digsafe "and trench as best they can within town taking to install a more reliable upgraded infrastructure" of the street. 
The new infrastructure is an upgrade to the current system, which will be abandoned, making it safer and more reliable for the neighborhood, Owen said. 
If there is an outage it is usually only minutes because contractors typically dig alongside the existing infrastructure and then install the new conduit and the new wire, he said. 
This would likely be a multi-day process, but he said the only interruption residents can expect is when Eversourse discontinues the existing infrastructure and switches it over to the new one. 
Customers are notified when an expected outage occurs, and if the outage lasts for an extended period, Eversouce offers generation for the affected customers while the work is being done, he said. 
One resident said they do not understand why a project like this is necessary as they have not had any issues with their power.
There has been an influx of solar, and the current system is outdated so, the load is getting pushed back onto the grid, and the existing infrastructure can't reliably handle what is currently in the ground, Owen said. 
The splice pit was proposed to be placed directly in front of 126 Barton Hill Road, which residents objected to as it would be an eyesore and can not have anything grow on it. 
"Why this point was chosen is because it's a new point to make an L for when we're pulling in that primary infrastructure. The longer that cable gets, the harder it is to pull," Owen said. 
"So, we pick a midpoint, if you think of an L or a T. It, unfortunately, got to be right in the middle there so that we can pull through and then pull up the street." 
The Select Board voted to continue the public hearing until May 13 and requested that Eversouce provide an updated plan that included a timeline duration so residents know what to expect for the interruption of the street.
In addition to that, board members requested a site inspection to determine if there are any less-intrusive locations.
Around the first week of May, Owen did a site visit to show residents where the digging was going to take place, Executive Assistant Alyssa Maschino said afterward.
Owen also coordinated with the residents of 126 and 170 Barton Hill to find a location in front of their homes and found an agreed-upon area in each yard, she said. 
During the public hearing on May 13, residents reiterated some of their concerns, mainly the impact the excavation would have on their yards, and requested that Eversource provide written plans to show the new location of the splice pits.
They provided previous examples of excavation work that Spectrum had done and left unfinished. The residents said they had to fill it in after multiple failed attempts to reach someone from Spectrum to come and fix it. 
The board directed the residents to contact Town Manager Thomas Hutcheson with complaints about Spectrum's work. 
The work that the Eversource contractors will be doing will be right alongside that, Owen said. "So, our contractors will definitely do a much better job at reseeding and cleaning up." 
Owen said he can't speak for Spectrum, but Eversource, as far as he knows, also communicates better with its customers. 
During the May 13 public hearing, residents thanked Owen for working with them and said they appreciated the collaboration to find a compromise. 
The new location "is a good spot," one resident said. 
"I'm happy we could come to a compromise that's less invasive to you folks," Owen said.
The public hearing was postponed to June 10 to allow Eversource to submit a finalized detailed work plan and timeline.
The board said if the permit is approved, it will include the condition that the area be properly reseeded, and an inspection by a town official will have to be done following the work. 

Tags: eversource,   infrastructure improvements,   public utility,   

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Post 68 Juniors Shut Out North Adams

By Leland Sports
PITTSFIELD , Mass — A monster fifth inning led the Post 68 Juniors to a 4-0 win against North Adams Post 125 in American Legion baseball action on Saturday at Buddy Pellerin Field.
Late in the game for Post 68, a rally started which led to their ultimate victory.
A combination of hits from Derek Roy, David Wildgoose and, Ethan O’Donnell resulted in two of Post 68’s runs scored.
On the bump, Gavin and Ethan O’Donnell combined for seven strikeouts.
“Today was a hot one,” Ethan said, “Had to work consistently and get flyouts and groundouts.”
And the pair combined to allow just three total hits.
In the shutout Post 68’s defense was on point the entire game, only allowing two errors on missed throws to first base.
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