Road inspections will take place ahead of Josh Billings Runaground race in Great Barrington


GREAT BARRINGTON -- Before Josh Billings Runaground competitors bike through the heart of Great Barrington next month, town officials will inspect the road to ensure conditions are safe.

The town Board of Selectmen on Monday unanimously approved a request by race director Patty Spector to use town roads on race day, Sept. 14.

But with an extensive reconstruction project currently underway on Main Street, race officials have raised concerns about the safety of participants.

Spector told the board that she discussed the issue with representatives of the contractors working on the road.

"I was told the road will be ‘no worse' than it normally is that day." she said, "but we're still concerned about potholes.

"A crack in the road is nothing to an automobile," she said. "But if a cyclist catches a tire on it, we have a problem."

The Josh Billings Runaground is a 27-mile bicycle race, 5-mile canoe race and 6-mile run for both teams and single athletes. The triathlon, now in its 38th year, begins at the Great Barrington Price Chopper and ends at Tanglewood.

The bicycle portion of the race passes through downtown Great Barrington, which is undergoing a $6.2 million improvement project to make needed repairs to the infrastructure and make the area more pedestrian friendly.

While construction is underway, workers patch torn up sections of the road daily, and work is suspended over the weekend.

Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin said she and the members of the Department of Public Works will take a "run-through" of the route through town a few days before the race to ensure conditions are acceptable.

Also Monday, Tabakin announced that a survey put out by the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority will be accessible via a link to the town's website,

The link to the survey is on the home page.

The BRTA is considering some changes to its service routes throughout the county. Residents who would like to see specific changes should go to the survey and indicate their preferences, she said.

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


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