MassDOT closes Route 183 bridge in Housatonic indefinitely

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By Saturday, Apr 15 News  5 Comments
Ezra Small
On Thursday evening (April 13) in Housatonic crews from Maxymillian were removing the concrete beam that had fallen from the Park Street (Route 183) bridge into the Housatonic River. On Friday, April 14, MassDOT decided to close the bridge indefinitely. For video, see article below.

Housatonic – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has closed the Route 183 (Park Street) bridge over the Housatonic River, after further examination by engineers discovered unexpected deteroriation. The structure will remain closed until engineers can be assured of its structural integrity during the bridge’s reconstruction. It had been opened to one lane of traffic.

In a statement issued Friday (April 14) evening at 9:30, MassDOT spokesperson Patrick Marvin explained that “MassDOT has announced that the Route 183 (Park Street) Bridge over the Housatonic River in Great Barrington will be closed in order to allow MassDOT engineers to safely evaluate the condition of the bridge beams.

“MassDOT will continue its comprehensive evaluation process and will update the public in the coming week as it analyzes the current status of the bridge.”

A portion of the Route 183 bridge in Housatonic collapsed Tuesday morning, April 4,, causing its complete closure until late on April 7 .

The Park Street Bridge the day after a concrete supporting beam collapsed into the Housatonic River. Photo: Terry Cowgill

The Park Street Bridge the day after a concrete supporting beam collapsed into the Housatonic River. Photo: Terry Cowgill

A concrete beam, apparently while being prepared for removal, fell into the Housatonic River, leaving a chasm of three feet or more running the length of the southern lane of the bridge, which had already been closed to traffic for previously scheduled reconstruction.

In his April 14 announcement Marvin further stated that “these operations are necessary to ensure public safety as MassDOT discovered additional deterioration and bridge beam movement while preparing beams for removal on the closed section of the bridge as part of an ongoing construction project. The scope of work for this project consists of removing the existing bridge superstructure and replacing with a new superstructure complete with new bridge railing, sidewalks, deck, and prestressed concrete beams.

“A Traffic Management Plan is implemented which includes variable message boards to inform the public. The signed detour utilizes Route 7, Route 102 and Route 183 in Towns of Great Barrington and Stockbridge. Those traveling through the area should expect delays, reduce speed, and use caution.

“MassDOT advises motorists to seek alternate routes between Great Barrington – Housatonic District and Stockbridge on Route 183 at this time.”

Housatonic resident Fred Clark also forwarded us a video taken by Ezra Small (see below) of the continuing work on the bridge the previous evening (April 13). At that time the bridge had been closed so that workers from J.H. Maxymillian could use cranes and cables to hoist the broken beam from the river and place it on the remaining lane of the bridge so that it could be removed from the scene and disposed of. The video was taken from the lawn of the Brick House Pub.


MassDOT also provided the following instructions for travelers:

  • Dial 511 before heading out onto the roadways and select a route to hear real-time conditions.
  • Visit, a website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information, access to traffic cameras, and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions.
  • Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT to receive regular updates on road and traffic conditions
  • Download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.


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5 Comments   Add Comment

  1. Susan Pettee, Great Barrington, MA says:

    Thanks for the article. Is the bridge closed to pedestrians, too? When it was closed before, the pedestrian walkway was still open.

  2. Terry Cowgill says:

    Resident Michelle Loubert tells us the bridge remain open to pedestrians.

  3. John says:

    Unexpected deterioration? Wasn’t the bridge just inspected? This would suggests that the inspections have limited value… very strange

  4. David R Guenette says:

    Several questions regarding the situation with the Park Street Bridge:

    1. What company built the bridge in 1970?
    2. What was the engineering design of this bridge (with what materials was it built)?
    3. Are there other bridges built by the construction company that built this bridge and/or other bridges that used the same or similar engineering design used to build this bridge?

    That this bridge failed so overwhelmingly after only 47 years suggests to me that other bridges the construction company and/or the engineering design used should be getting in-depth inspections. Is this happening?

    1. Michelle Loubert says:

      David: I’m holding my breath on the Division Street bridge which is in rough shape and now overburdened with detoured trucks…a concern I expressed when the state held the public hearing on the Park Street bridge. Speed has also been excessive on Division Street as detoured traffic rushes to its destination. A greater police presence is needed on Division Street ( ON Division Street not just parked at the end of it at Taft Farms) as well as Van Deusenville Road.

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