Towns to see road repairs

  • Buckland Town Hall

Staff Writer
Published: 10/19/2018 12:49:05 AM

Athol, Buckland and Hawley were among eight rural communities that will receive $7.3 million worth of road and bridge fixes through the MassWorks grant program.

The awards were announced Thursday in Tolland, where Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Jay Ash, secretary of Housing and Economic Development, joined local town officials to talk about the latest infrastructure grants.

Buckland will receive $1 million for the reconstruction of Upper Street in Buckland Center. The grant will provide for new drainage and will reconstruct 7,500 feet of roadway. It will also correct 2,000 feet of curbing and sidewalks. The current road condition causes drivers crossing lanes to avoid potholes, puddles and ice. In winter, flooding, caused by poor drainage, leads to large areas of ice and dangerous sections of frozen road. These conditions impact response times by Buckland police, fire and ambulance services to Buckland and to Hawley and Charlemont, where they provide mutual aid.

State Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington, said he was “glad to advocate for this project,” and he thanked the Baker-Polito Administration “for supporting this significant investment in one of our smallest and most rural towns.”

The state awarded $466,900 for the rebuilding of Route 8A in Hawley, which will include rebuilding a 1,000-foot stretch and installing a drainage system to correct dangerous road conditions. The road has experienced sinking each spring, causing hazardous conditions due to pavement fracturing at the edges, leaving a 2-inch drop at a sharp bend in the road. The road is now being used as a truck detour, causing the sunken area to compromise safety.

State Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, said the MassWorks infrastructure grants are an important way to help fund local projects “especially in our smallest, most rural towns,” such as Hawley, which has 337 residents. He said Hawley and Windsor (which got $1 million) “will put this grant money to good use, undertaking much needed road repairs they might not otherwise be able to afford.”

In Worcester County, Athol will get $1 million to reconstruct 13,600 linear feet of Bolton and Athol roads, along with new drainage systems, guardrails and culverts. The combined roads form the shortest route between the Royalston and Athol town centers; they are also the primary emergency-response routes for both towns’ police, fire and ambulance emergency services.

Deteriorated road surfaces now cause emergency vehicles to slow down, and the alternative route takes at least twice as long. This route is also vital for school buses, commuters and regional mutual aid.

State Rep. Susannah Whipps, R-Athol, said the route “provides important access for our citizens, schoolchildren, first responders and visitors. I’m grateful to the administration for seeing the need and addressing it via the grant.”


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