In the spirit of reflection and self-examination, herein lies The Edge’s second annual Great Barrington year in review. It includes some select stories from other South County towns as well, along with embedded links to Edge stories for more information.
Town manager Mark Pruhenski acknowledged that the costs for the emergency repair of the Division Street bridge, which are currently unknown, would be in addition to whatever it costs to perform a permanent repair or replacement.
Proposals for how to use the cannabis revenue windfall will be discussed by the selectboard and the finance committee in the upcoming deliberations for next year’s budget, with voters having the final say on how to spend free cash at the annual town meeting in May.
Whether one lane of the Brown Bridge is closed during construction or whether it is shut down altogether, the construction will be a major disruption to traffic, especially considering the fact that the town-owned Division Street bridge was closed by the state in the second week of September.
At Monday’s Great Barrington Selectboard meeting at the Claire Teague Senior Center, concerns ranged from traffic, speeding, and the impact the closure of the Division Street and Cottage Street bridges are having on businesses and residents alike.
Why are our bridges failing? Whose fault is it and why is nothing done until it’s too late? Not surprisingly, part of the problem is money. It costs $4-5 million to replace a bridge so it isn’t something the town takes lightly.
At issue is the fact that the Conservation Commission, which, on the local level, enforces the state Wetlands Protection Act, is also charged with enforcing the town’s own wetland bylaw, which is somewhat more stringent than the state law.
Among the problems with a permanent closure, town manager Mark Pruhenski said, is the lack of a plan to deal with a “turn-around and detour of vehicles” from the sudden closure of the Division Street bridge earlier this month.
That Day came up with such a bold housing plan is remarkable; that he did so in concert with the priest is further amazing, allowing as he did the opportunity for the parish to sell building lots to help fund its church construction.
The rickety-looking bridge has long been the subject of complaints and concerns of nearby residents and passersby who have questioned its structural integrity and the appropriateness of allowing large vehicles such as dump trucks and semi-tractor trailers to rumble over its pockmarked decking.