North Adams Transcript
NORTH ADAMS - The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is still trying to assess the damage caused to the Mohawk Trail last week by Tropical Storm Irene.
Spokesman Michael Verseckes said Tuesday engineers are still surveying a six-mile stretch of Route 2 (Mohawk Trail) that was battered by mudslides, slope failure, and road failures and washouts during the storm.
"It could take up to a week to get a comprehensive understanding of the extent of the damage," he said.
With a remote stretch of road from the eastern end of Florida into Charlemont impassable, it has been extremely challenging to get people and equipment in there, he said.
"Additionally, the bridge connecting the towns of Savoy and Florida has still not been inspected by divers because the water has not receded enough to safely insert a dive team," he said.
At this point, the state doesn't have a timeline as to when the six-mile stretch may be reopened, he said.
While local traffic and tourists traveling Route 2 west from the eastern part of Massachusetts can get into Charlemont, anyone traveling past that point is being detoured onto Route 112 south to Route 116 west to Route 8 north. Route 8 joins Route 2 in North Adams. Traffic traveling from the west into North Adams is being sent onto Route 8 south to Route 116 east to Route 112 north to Route 2.
Despite the detour, North Adams Mayor Richard J. Alcombright expects the city will take a hit economically
"They'll certainly be some economic pain to this, no question. The trail is our scenic link from the eastern side of the state to here. Most people who come here in autumn come via the Mohawk Trail," he said.
The state has promised that Routes 112 and 116 will be in as good a shape as possible, and he is confident that leaf peepers will be as amazed by the foliage along those roads as they would be traveling the Mohawk Trail, he said.
"If we can really get people comfortable driving Route 112 and 116, it can be a pretty experience in-and-of-itself," he said.
The outlook isn't as optimistic for the Whitcomb Summit Motel and Cafe in Florida.
"It's a little painful right now. All of our business comes from people using the trail," Jim Pedro, one of the business' partners, said.
In addition, a lot of the hotel's bookings are from people visiting Zoar, Berkshire East and Crab Apple White water in Charlemont, he said. With the bridge connecting Florida and Savoy closed, people are now opting to stay on the other end of the bridge, he said.
"The sooner the state gets the road open, the better," he said.
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