Drivers comfortable with new connector

By Trevor Jones
The Berkshire Eagle

LANESBOROUGH – The Route 7-Route 8 connector road was open for the first time in six months on Wednesday, and minus some serious bumps, things were back to normal as a steady stream of vehicles traveled up and down the newly reconstructed road.

“It’s really nice,” said Ken Wirtes, owner of Bradley Farm on Route 7.

Wirtes participates in the Berkshire Farmers Market in the Sears parking lot of the Berkshire Mall and he was pleased to be able to get back on the road, which will reach Route 8 soon.

“Hopefully it’s going to back to the market and the shops,” he said, noting that the previous detours caused confusion among some drivers.

The once notoriously bumpy road is now a smooth ride, with new pavement ending at the Mall Ring Road. And as workers put the finishing touches on a flower bed near the road’s entrance, cars turned off and on the road.

The connector road has been closed between Route 7 and the Mall Ring Road since April 19.

The opening of the road was the second phase of a four-part $6.3 million project to completely refurbish the road between Route 7 and Route 8.

The first and second phases were completed two months ahead of schedule, while the remaining work will resume in the spring.  The entire project is expected to be completed by August 2011.