WILLIAMSTOWN -- Town Manager Peter L. Fohlin has signed a temporary easement allowing the state Department of Transportation to continue safety improvements to the runaway-truck ramp on the Taconic Trail.
The state agency requested the easement in a Sept. 16 letter to Fohlin, stating it was needed in order to continue clearing vegetationaround the ramp and its approach.
MassDOT Spokesman Michael Verseckes said Wednesday some trees need to be cut on the town property and more excavation needs to be conducted in order to provide the best visibility possible.
"The combination of these is to improve sight distance for the truck ramp and make it safer," he said.
The length of the area that will be cleared is about 395 feet, and the farthest the clearing will go onto the town property is 16.6 feet, the letter, which was signed by District Highway Director Peter A. Niles, stated.
MassDOT has already cleared trees, brush and other vegetation within the layout of the state highway, according to the letter.
"Additionally, earthen berms within the highway layout have been excavated and removed; all of which have improved the visibility of the ramp and the advanced warning signs to the ramp," the letter stated.
Efforts to improve the visibility of the runaway-truck ramp, which is located just above the intersection of the Taconic Trail (Route 2) and Cold Spring Road (Route 7), began in July after a fatal tractor-trailer accident at the intersection on June 29.
The tractor-trailer involved in the accident didn't use the ramp.
Following the accident, the Selectmen sent a letter to MassDOT asking to review the location of signs warning tractor-trailer drivers of the ramp and trim shrubbery and brush near the ramp's entrance.
The ramp, which opened in 2002, was constructed as a way to stop tractor-trailers that had lost their brakes coming down the steep roadway from New York state before they reached the intersection with Route 7.
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