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Division Street bridge

Division Street bridge in Great Barrington could reopen with temporary fix by summer

A one-lane, modular bridge is planned

Division Street bridge Great Barrington

The state closed the Division Street bridge in Great Barrington in 2019 because of a structural failure that makes it unsafe. The town is installing a temporary modular bridge that will reopen the span by next summer. 

GREAT BARRINGTON — Motorists will be able to again cross the Housatonic River this summer over a temporary, modular span adjacent to the long-closed Division Street bridge, officials said Thursday.

"If all goes according to plan," officials said in a statement announcing that the deadline for bids to install the bridge is Feb. 17.

Given the level of disruption the shutdown has caused residents, officials opted not to wait for the completion of a longer, permanent project that is dependent on federal funds. 

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The state closed the bridge in September 2019 after an inspection deemed it unsafe. Earlier that year, voters had approved $4 million for a permanent bridge across the river, since inspectors had previously rated it structurally deficient. This critical link between state routes 183 and 41 was built in 1950.

The $4 million will now be used to install the temporary bridge, according to Department of Public Works Superintendent Sean VanDeusen. The work will include building a sidewalk, new guardrails and a one-way alternating traffic signal.

VanDeusen said in a statement that bridge replacements involve complex permitting and "approvals needed from the state Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Transportation, as well as a natural heritage review." There is also "time-consuming design, engineering, funding approvals and public bidding procedures."

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or 413-329-6871. 

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