PITTSFIELD -- Weather permitting, the $6 million reconstruction of a 1.4-mile section of South Street should be completed -- ahead of schedule -- by Thanksgiving, state transportation officials said this week.
Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation suspended work from noon on Friday until Tuesday morning to accommodate travelers for the upcoming three-day Labor Day weekend, according to MassDOT spokesman Michael Verseckes.
If Mother Nature cooperates, Verseckes says the entire now 16-month project -- including the final paving -- should wrap up in mid-November.
"We were initially anticipating the final course of pavement would be put down in the spring of 2014," he said, "but the contractor, J.H. Maxymillian, is ahead of our original schedule, which is good news."
MassDOT officials expect the top coat of asphalt in place by Columbus Day weekend in October.
Meanwhile, the various other aspects of the road and streetscape work will take another 21 2 months to finish.
"By the end of the second week in September, the sidewalk and driveway construction will be complete as well as the landscaping," Verseckes said. "By the end of September, we expect to have deck repairs complete on both bridges and fully open for use."
Verseckes is referring to the crossing over the railroad tracks near the intersection of Gamwell Avenue and South Street and the span across the Housatonic River just north of Fairfield Avenue and South Street. The bridge construction has occasionally caused traffic delays this summer.
The final stage of construction is to complete installation of new traffic lights at five intersections where South Street meet -- South Mountain Road, Warren Terrace, Gamwell Avenue, Crofut Street and the entrance to Berkshire Life.
Since the project began in April 2012, the contractor has installed new curbing and drainage along most of the road from Berkshire Life north to the intersection with Taconic and Reed streets. Crews also built an aesthetically pleasing retaining wall in the northbound lane between Crofut and the city's park on Veterans Way. Two additional retaining walls were completed this summer on each side of the South Street-South Mountain Road intersection.
City officials say the South Street work has been long overdue because the road has taken a beating for more than a decade.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
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