This Press Release was provided by the Town.
(GBLC, through its Lake Mansfield Alliance project has worked to provide stewardship for LM since 2005, this includes serving on the Lake Mansfield Improvement Task Force)
GREAT BARRINGTON -- As the Town of Great Barrington works to implement the engineering phase of its Lake Mansfield Improvement Plan, signs of progress are starting to become visible.
The ongoing project involves a variety of work to design a repair for Lake Mansfield Road, which has sustained damage following years of seasonal changes in the weather, coupled with poor drainage. The improvement plan will increase public safety and protect the lake's water quality and habitat while maintaining access to the recreation area. It will also improve the boat launch, beach area and travel for pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles.
Residents have begun to notice small blue flags along the road, which are being used to mark the boundary of protected wetlands. Surveyors will rely on the flags to map property and infrastructure boundaries along the road as they work in the area this week.
The work also includes geotechnical investigations which involves drilling core samples from the road. This allows engineers to study the base material and construction of the road, in order to determine how to best address stormwater, drainage and bank erosion.
Lake Mansfield Road is expected to close for one day to allow for this work to occur safely and swiftly. The Town will make an announcement prior to any road closure, though the exact date of the closure has yet to be determined.
"Lake Mansfield Road is a critical piece of infrastructure that the town is committed to preserving," Town Planner Chris Rembold said. "We are making solid progress on rehabilitating the road to make it safer to travel, while protecting the lake and the valuable ecosystem surrounding it."
KZLA Landscape Architecture was contracted by the town to develop the improvement plan last summer, following a year of design work and public meetings. The improvement plan was ultimately approved by the Selectboard last September.
The approval called for beginning design and engineering work, seeking funds for stormwater improvements and requires the town to consider all roadway options, including whether to use it as a two-way road, one-way road or to one day close the road to through traffic.
Future questions regarding the width and route of the road will be determined at a later date based on the information gleaned from the engineer’s report. The initial report is expected in 2018. The report will also lead to a plan for an improved outlet structure to address flooding that occurs at the northern end of the road during storms. The engineering work is funded by $106,400 in Community Preservation Act grant funds and is being led by the firm of Woodard & Curran.
In addition, the Town has applied for a grant through the Massachusetts DEP in order to complete the stormwater mitigation work required on Knob Hill Road. The Town is also working with the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game for improvements at the Boat Launch.
The Town of Great Barrington’s Lake Mansfield Improvement Task Force continues to meet monthly to support the town in its implementation of the improvement plan. Community input is welcome as the Town confronts the complex issues inherent in the care and improvement of this much valued open space. Other upcoming improvements include the completion of the handicapped accessible loop trail in the Lake Mansfield Forest. Stewardship of the Lake Mansfield Recreation Area is accomplished with the support of Great Barrington Land Conservancy.
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