As the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is developing its plan to replace a bridge over a vital freight rail corridor in Pittsfield, members of the public are being asked for their opinions. WAMC’s Berkshire bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…
Tonight, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation will be meeting with the Pittsfield community at a public hearing to hear thoughts and concerns on the Woodlawn Avenue bridge project. The state, working with the city of Pittsfield and the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority, will replace a bridge over a CSX freight rail line.
The bridge was formerly owned by General Electric. Now that it is in the heads of the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority, PEDA has partnered with the Commonwealth to replace the existing structure with its Accelerated Bridge Program. PEDA Director Cory Thurston says that replacing the bridge is a top priority in attracting new business to the former GE plot, now the Williams Stanley Business Park.
In addition to creating better access to the park, a new bridge will once again connect Pittsfield residents with an important roadway that was previously unusable, and upgrades to the bridge will allow double-stacked freight cars to pass below on the tracks owned by CSX.
State Senator Benjamin Downing helped secure two million dollars in funding for the removal and reconstruction of the Woodlawn Avenue Bridge in last July’s transportation bond bill. He said he appreciates MassDOT taking priority with the project, and that the new bridge will help create jobs in Pittsfield and will benefit the state.
3rd Berkshire District Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier said she will be attending the forum this evening. She said she was glad to see Pittsfield work so well with MassDOT, and also that addressing the Berkshires’ transportation needs will be a top priority in the next legislative session beginning in January.
MassDOT’s public hearing on the Woodlawn Avenue bridge project will be held tonight at Pittsfield City Hall at 7 pm.