River ice in Stockbridge prompts measure of concern

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STOCKBRIDGE — Large chunks of ice that backed up a portion of the Housatonic River near the South Street Bridge on Saturday morning prompted concerns among emergency responders, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and Berkshire Gas Co.

Just after 8:30 a.m., Stockbridge Fire Chief Ernest "Chuck" Cardillo called the town's emergency management director, Christopher Marsden, about the ice, which had caused the river to stop flowing underneath the South Street Bridge on Route 7.

When the ice lets loose, water gushes free into Park Street, according to Marsden and Police Chief Darrell Fennelly.

The bridge also holds the main gas supply for Great Barrington, so its town officials were also notified and MassDOT dispatched bridge inspectors to make sure the structure was secure, according to Fennelly.

In anticipation of potential flooding, Marsden issued a reverse 911 call to residents of Stockbridge to notify them of the situation, he said.

Emergency shelters were also prepared in case homes would need to be evacuated, he said.

"As of right now, it's looking like the situation is stable and we should not need those services," Marsden said just before noon.

Because of fluctuating temperatures, with it dropping below zero at certain points throughout the day, emergency responders continued to monitor the river, according to Marsden and Fennelly.

Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at horecchio@berkshireeagle.com, @HavenEagle on Twitter and 413-770-6977.


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