PITTSFIELD -- Weather permitting, work will resume today on the South Street project, a $6 million reconstruction of the city’s busiest roadway that’s a year away from completion.
The majority of the first month’s road work will be concentrated on the area of South Street and South Mountain Road, according to state transportation officials.
"Specifically, it involves building new retaining walls, the installation of [traffic] signals and the installation of improved drainage components," said Michael Verseckes, spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
MassDOT is overseeing the mostly state-funded reconstruction scheduled to wrap up in the spring of 2014.
Since South Street to Park Square is considered the city’s most traveled thoroughfare, two-way traffic has -- and will continue to be -- maintained during construction.
Last year, the contractor -- J. H. Maxymillian of Pittsfield -- installed new curbing and drainage along most of the 1.4-mile stretch of road from the entrance to Berkshire Life, north to the intersection with Taconic and Reed streets. Crews built a retaining wall, new curbing and a sidewalk in the northbound lane between Crofut Street and the city’s park on Veterans Way.
In October, South Street was given a first coat of new asphalt, as the contractor smoothed over what had been a bumpy ride for motorists for half the summer. The final paving is planned for next spring.
While the initial new pavement was striped before the project shut down late last fall, winter weather and road salt have wiped out most of the traffic markings. State and local officials say the erasures could cause confusion for motorists.
"We have told the contractor to schedule a re-painting of the temporary pavement markings for the entire project," Verseckes said. "This will most likely occur during the first two weeks of April."
As for the additional retaining walls, one each will be located along the north- and southbound lanes at the intersection with South Street, according to city officials.
"They will be similar to the one near Crofut, but with smaller blocks that will look better, architecturally," said Pittsfield Public Utilities Commissioner Bruce I. Collingwood.
The second construction season for the South Street project will also begin with an upgrade of the signalized intersections at South Mountain Road and Warren Terrace. In addition, new traffic signals will be installed at the crossroads with Crofut Street, Gamwell Avenue, and the entrance to Berkshire Life.
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:
or (413) 496-6233.