|Woodlawn Avenue Transferred to PEDA; Bridge Coming Down|
|By Joe Durwin, Special to iBerkshires|
01:45PM / Wednesday, November 16, 2011
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday night approved a key final step in the transfer of property at the William Stanley Business Park from General Electric to the Pittsfield Economic Development Authortity.
The final piece of property, which includes the long-closed Woodlawn Avenue bridge, now belongs to PEDA, which will oversee extensive renovation there beginning with the demolition of the current bridge.
PEDA Director Corydon Thurston explained that in order for the state to fund the improvements, the property must be owned by a public, or quasi-public entity, hence the reason for PEDA to manage the former GE property now known as William Stanley Business Park.
"By moving forward with this, we can start working with the DOT (Department of Transportation) on the issues inherent with replacing the bridge."
The property passes to PEDA with an agreement with CSX Railroad that the current bridge be removed, in order to allow the railroad to run doublestack container cars through Pittsfield. The current plan aims to ultimately rebuild the bridge so that the center section will be higher than the current one, allowing the at least 15 extra inches of clearance needed for CSX Railroad to run the dual-level cars beneath it.
The time it takes to have a new bridge in place, Thurston said, will depend on design factors, some of which remain undecided. He hopes that it can be completed in about a year and a half, in time for the closing of Silver Lake Boulevard, slated for the summer of 2013.
"The idea is to do this as quickly as possible. I've always tried to accomodate the city's concerns and public safety concerns that are going to be raised when Silver Lake Boulevard is partly closed," he said. "If not open by then, there's certainly going to be a public safety issue in terms of access to that section of that city."
Removal of the current Woodlawn Avenue bridge is scheduled to occur in January.