PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Repairs to the one-lane bridge on Holmes Road are on schedule to begin in fall 2022.
The bridge over the Housatonic Rail line was reduced to alternating one-lane traffic in March 2019 because of issues with carrying capacity and a temporary traffic signal was implemented to mitigate the flow of vehicles.
Over the past two years, abutters have placed "fix the bridge" signs on their lawns in support of having Holmes Road returned to two-lane traffic on that stretch.
The state Department of Transportation is aware of negative feedback from the neighborhood and is trying to get the project done as soon as possible.
"MassDOT is aware of the ['fix the bridge'] signs and we understand the frustrations of residents, bridges are complex infrastructure that require significant engineering and permitting," spokeswoman Judith Reardon Riley wrote to iBerkshires in an email. "MassDOT looks forward to working with the neighborhood to deliver the repairs in as short of a time as possible."
Reardon Riley added that all complaints are being tracked and responded to individually.
During a routine inspection of the bridge in May 2018, MassDOT engineers identified conditions that warranted further analysis into the structure's loading carrying capacity. It was determined that the bridge could only remain open with single-lane, alternating one-way traffic until repairs are done.
The general condition of the bridge is classified as "fair."
To support the conditions needed to keep the bridge in use with a reduced travel lane, MassDOT installed concrete barriers and a traffic signal.
To repair the bridge, the superstructure — or beams and deck — need to be replaced along with new beam seats on top of the concrete abutments. The current sidewalk also needs to be extended to the length of the retaining walls on the north and south ends of the bridge.
"Part of the current engineering effort is to develop a construction approach," Reardon Riley wrote. "At this time, MassDOT has not progressed design enough to have a detailed schedule but similar projects typically take between one to two construction seasons to construct. A detailed schedule will be shared with the community when it's available."
The project reportedly is operating on schedule and will advertise in June 2022 with construction expected to begin in late summer or early fall of 2022.
Currently, the cost estimate is $2,868,450.00, a combination of 80 percent federal funding with a 20 percent state match.
A public informational meeting will be scheduled in September so that community members can be informed on the project and the estimated timeline of construction.
Until the repairs are completed, traffic impacts are expected to be similar to what is currently in place and alternating one-way traffic will reportedly be needed during all but a few nights or weekends.