GREAT BARRINGTON -- Plans for the Main Street reconstruction project are undergoing final review, but during the last two weeks the town's share of the costs has increased, while the start of construction could be delayed until after Labor Day, according to Public Works Superintendent Joseph Sokul.
The project's 100 percent design plan has been submitted to the state Department of Transportation, Sokul said, but town officials are still not ready to announce the starting date for construction.
It was originally suggested that construction would begin on May 31, but the starting date has been postponed until after Labor Day to avoid work during the summer tourist season, said project development engineer Mark Moore of MassDOT.
"We're very much working hand-in-hand [with Great Barrington] and we will get it advertised this fiscal year, so we'll get the funding secured," Moore said.
"In terms of delivery of the project, you'd like to see it go at the start of construction season, but inevitably projects face obstacles and there have probably been some here," said transportation program manager Clete Kus, of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission.
The costs associated with the project have soared. The addition of five amendments to the original project have increased the town's share of the total cost from $366,000 to $807,000, according to town documents.
It's possible the town's share could increase to $1,025,000 if an unanticipated
The town will likely use its annual allotment of state Chapter 90 road funds to make up the difference. The project's total cost is $6.2 million. It includes $5.2 million in federal funds.
"It's certainly manageable, but it's certainly disappointing that we won't be spending this on sidewalks and other road improvements," Finance Committee Chair Thomas Blauvelt said.
During Monday's Selectmen's meeting, Sokul said the town should be prepared to cut items such as holiday lighting, kiosks, bicycle racks and other ancillary items from the project to keep the cost in line with the state's engineering construction budget. Eliminating those items would cut between $200,000 and $300,000 from that $5.2 million figure.
If construction begins after Labor Day, paving and other related items could be affected because winter would be so close, Moore said.
The project is expected to take between 18 months and two years to complete.
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