Tuesday October 23, 2012

LEE -- Fifteen years in the making, the reconstruction of the deteriorating Tyringham Road could begin in another three years.

The estimated $6 million project has been added to the local Trans por tation Improvement Program, or TIP, list, making it eligible for 80 percent federal and 20 percent state highway funds in 2015, according to town officials.

Once Lee receives funding for the reconstruction, the project can be put out to bid after Oct. 1, 2014. A contract then would be awarded and the work could start the following year, said Town Administrator Robert Nason.

The road improvements include repaving the nearly 2-mile thoroughfare, making the entire road 22 feet wide and improving drainage. Some sections of the road have been crumbling into the Housatonic River for years, and the pavement and guardrail sections are in poor condition.

While engineering plans were completed two years ago, the project has taken a back seat to other road projects in the county, town officials said.

"By all accounts, [Tyringham Road] is in worse shape than most roads on the list," Nason said.

Lee Selectmen Gordon Bailey agrees the project should have been -- and could be -- done sooner.

"There is a very small chance we could get moved up on the list," he said.

While the project is in Lee, both Lee and Tyringham officials since 1997 have advocated to rebuild a deteriorating Tyringham Road which is the main link between the two communities and beyond.


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"We just bought a new car and that road just beats up vehicles," said Alan Wilcox, chairman of the Tyringham Board of Selectmen.

Tyringham resident Roger Ket ron travels the road every day.

"Given the pothole situation, it's going to be undermined at some point," said Ketron. "It's a disaster waiting to happen."

In addition, Tyringham Road is a favorite among residents in several South County towns, according to local town officials.

"It's also a major emergency route, allowing ambulance, police and fire into Tyringham, Otis and Monterey," said Bailey

Lee town officials say they are trying to prevent the road from becoming an emergency situation.

"The road is sliding, but we maintain it every year," said Lee Public Works Super in ten dent Christopher Pompi.

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