Great Barrington chases $3 million for Bridge Street bridge repair

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Photo Gallery | Bridge Street Bridge in Great Barrington needs repairs


GREAT BARRINGTON -- The town is pursuing a $3 million grant through the state's MassWorks Infrastructure Program to repair the Bridge Street bridge.

Built in 1951, the pony truss structure spans the Housatonic River. An inspection in 2012 indicated the structure "meets minimum tolerable limits to be left in place."

The deck and substructure were rated in "good" condition, while the superstructure was rated "fair" in the 2012 inspection, according to the National Bridge Inventory.

An average of 8,200 vehicles pass over the bridge daily, according to the NBI.

According to Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin, MassWorks doesn't often hand out grants for bridge repair. But, she said, the positioning of the bridge is key to the town's plans to develop the New England Log Homes site.

"Given the adjacent businesses and our plans to develop that part of town," said Tabakin, "we believe this will be a strong application."

The grant will not require matching funds, she said.

Tabakin said the bridge "is in need of work." If the town does not get the grant, the possibility is strong that the town would eventually have to pay for the work itself, she explained.

The bridge has no particular historic value, according to local historian Gary Leveille. It replaced a bridge that washed away in the Great Barrington flood of 1949.

But the stretch of river over which it spans holds some historical significance.

Prior to the construction of a bridge there, George "Hermit" Crosby operated a ferryboat there and transported residents and visitors across the river, said Leveille.

The town voted in the mid- to late-19th century to build a bridge across that part of the river.

That "agitated" Crosby, according to Leveille. Crosby became increasingly eccentric and was eventually committed to an asylum in Northampton. He died in 1891.

For more information about "Hermit" Crosby, refer to Leveille's book "Legendary Locals of South County."

To reach Derek Gentile:
dgentile@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @DerekGentile


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