Work on Sheffield's Route 7 bridge late by 10 months


SHEFFIELD >> Work on the concrete bridge over Hubbard Brook on Route 7 is now 10 months past its original deadline for completion, creating a frustrating bottleneck for an estimated 1,200 commuters who use the road daily.

The small concrete bridge was reduced to one lane in August of 2015. The Department of Transportation informed the town that the bridge would be reduced to a single lane until November of the same year.

Until then, vehicles driving northbound and southbound would be regulated by temporary traffic lights set up at either end of the span, according to the DOT statement.

"We got a notice telling us that they wouldn't be starting work until this spring [in 2016]," said Town Administrator Rhonda LaBombard. The deadline for completion at that point was sometime in May, she said.

Since then, LaBombard said, the town has heard nothing.

"I reached out to DOT a month ago, and no one got back to me," she said.

An Eagle reporter also reached out to DOT on Wednesday and Thursday, but was also unsuccessful.

Last August, the road was reduced to one lane. The road connects the town village to the northern part of Sheffield and perhaps more importantly, to the Town of Great Barrington.

According to information gleaned from the DOT's traffic report to Sheffield, about 1,200 commuters from both north and south of the bridge, travel that road daily during the week. That information was a 2009 estimate.

"I have not seen any work on that bridge since they made that announcement," said selectman chairman Nadine Hawver.

"Well, I did see them put up concrete barriers [reducing the road to one lane]," joked selectmen David Smith.

The work, when it eventually begins, entails shoring up the outside beams underneath the bridge, according to a DOT spokesman who explained the project in August of 2015.

The DOT had no cost estimate for the work at the time.

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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