Notorious curb claims scores of tires in West Stockbridge


Photo Gallery | Motorists getting flat tires because of protruding curb

Video | More than 10 motorists a week are popping their tires on this protruding curb on Route 102 in West Stockbridge.

WEST STOCKBRIDGE — At least 10 drivers a week are popping tires on a new curb that juts out on Route 102, but town officials say it's there to stay.

One mechanic deems the curb a hazard.

"They should [change it]," said John Ramos, owner of the Lenox auto repair shop Hoff's Mobil. "We do 10 or 11 cars a week just for that specific curb."

The curb, located near the Swamp Road intersection on Route 102, was replaced over the summer. The new granite is "sharp" and "pushed out further than it was" from the previous curb, Ramos said

"A lot of people lose their wheels," Ramos said.

Diane Wachtell of Brooklyn, N.Y., started placing calls to the town to get the curb altered after her car fell victim to the protrusion.

Wachtell hit the curb on Jan. 12 while driving to Cranwell Resort with her daughter. Her car needed to be towed and two tires had to be replaced at Hoff's Mobil.

"The guy who picked me up said, 'I have personally picked up no less than 50 people who've hit that curb and ruined their tires since it was put in this summer,'" Wachtell said. "He was laughing. He said, 'You and everyone else have hit it.'"

But Wachtell said she could get no traction with the town. She said she spoke to the police chief, town clerk and Town Administrator Mark Webber, all of whom said the curb would stay as is.

Webber told The Eagle the dimensions of the curb remain the same, but the former curb had been worn down from years of getting hit by ploughs and other vehicles.

People used to simply jump the curb, whereas the new granite damages vehicles.

Still, Webber sees no need to change the curb.

"According to a traffic analysis by MassHighway, 24,000 cars a day travel the same way [Wachtell] did," Webber said. "I didn't have the figures in front of me when we spoke, but if I did, I could and would have said that 23,999 cars made it through without hitting the curb [on Jan. 12], and 24,000 cars made it through after you. Isn't that a good sign?"

He added, "We're not going to change the curb."

Wachtell, on the other hand, expressed disappointment in the town's response.

"It's obviously a hazard and the town won't do anything," she said. "When it happened to me, I swerved into the other lane of traffic. I don't want my money back; I just want them to fix the damn curb."

Ramos said it could be that if the town were to put a rounded curb there instead, it might pull cars off the road entirely if they hit it, and a home is nearby.

"I'm not a civil engineer, but it could be a tough call there I imagine," he said.

Contact Phil Demers at 413-496-6214.


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