Monday October 22, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- The city has delayed completion of a major water system upgrade in the Coltsville section, in part, to avoid disrupting the flow of holiday traffic after Thanksgiving.

Installation of new 24-inch water distribution pipe was to be under way by now, replacing a 70-year-old transmission main and valve vault in front of Kelly’s Diner on Dalton Avenue, according to city officials. Once the new pipe was in place, the old one and valve vault were to be demolished.

The water main from the Cleveland reservoir delivers the majority of city’s drinking water.

However, the contractor hired to do the job need more time to prepare, possibly pushing the completion date into December and impacting holiday traffic, said Pittsfield Public Utilities Commissioner Bruce I. Collingwood.

"We’ve postponed the work until the 2013 construction season," he said. "Our biggest fear is the project could extend into the holiday shopping season."

The Coltsville intersection serves one of the city’s busiest shopping districts and funnels traffic to the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough.

Collingwood noted the construction would have a major impact on motorists as traffic needs to be diverted around the work zone.

The $500,000 project -- funded by unspent water user fees -- is the final phase of the water system improvements in the Coltsville area that began more than two years ago.

In the summer of 2010, the city started construction of a new water flow control station at the east edge of the Coltsville Shopping Center.


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It was completed and online in the spring of 2011, replacing the one next to Kelly’s Diner.

The facility regulates the flow of water from Cleveland Reservoir’s treatment plant and is the final checkpoint for confirming that Pittsfield homes and businesses are receiving potable water.

The new and improved station will significantly minimize any risk that the water flow could damage the city’s older water mains, Collingwood said.

Meanwhile, the municipal water improvement project near Pontoosuc Lake is on schedule for completion in late November, according to city officials.

Collingwood expects construction along Hancock Road and several side streets should wrap up on time, despite the potential for delays.

"We’ve had a lot of unanticipated work as it’s been difficult locating the other underground utilities, so we can dig safely," he noted.

The nearly $1 million project calls for installing a new 12-inch main on Hancock Road from North Street to Ridge Avenue. The larger pipe will replace a 6-inch main and provide better water pressure to the heavily residential neighborhood.

In addition, new 8-inch water pipes will be laid along the loop formed by Constitution, Waubeek and Overlook roads.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233