LEE -- Tyringham Road will be closed to thru-traffic for a month allowing workers to shore up the crumbling riverbank along the road.

Later this week, Lee officials expect a section of the road between Cone Avenue and Meadow Street to be blocked off as the contractor starts building a retaining wall along the Housatonic River, one of 18 needed as part of the $5.5 million reconstruction of the 2-mile main link between Lee and Tyringham.

It's also a major emergency route, allowing ambulances, police and firefighters into Tyringham, Otis and Monterey. The project is slated for competition in the 2015 construction season.

Lee Police Chief Jeffrey Roosa said residents living on either side of the affected area will still be able to travel to and from their homes during the temporary road closure.

Since mid-July, thru-traffic has been detoured around the road during weekday construction, but re-opened for nighttime and weekend use. The part-time detour via Route 102 and Meadow Street will become full-time, possibly by Thursday or Friday,

Trying to maintain the part-time detour would be too hazardous, according to Lee DPW Superintendent Christopher Pompi.

"You have maybe 8 to 10 feet to squeeze by along the river; you're asking for trouble," he said.

Pompi pointed out the retaining wall is the most difficult of the 18 being built, the majority being installed along the river bank, the others on the west side of the road.

Rebuilding Tyringham Road also includes repaving the entire road, making it 22 feet wide and improving drainage.


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Some sections of the road have been eroding into the Housatonic River for years, and the pavement and guardrail sections are in poor condition.

In addition, the intersection of Tyringham Road and Meadow Street will be reconfigured from a "T" to a "Y" shape to improve traffic flow at the crossroad, Lee public works officials have said.

Last fall, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation hired Baltazar Contractors, Inc., of Ludlow, under the state's Transportation Improvement Program. Road and bridge projects on the TIP list are eligible for 80 percent federal funding and 20 percent state highway funds.

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

If you go ...

What: Lee mills visioning event

When: Aug. 21, 5:30-9 p.m.

Where: Fiddleheads Grille, @ Greenock Country Club, 220 West Park St., Lee

For more information go to www.berkshireplanning.org, click Aug. 21 on calendar, click again to access visioning event flyer.