Six-mile stretch of Route 2 is reopened after damage from Hurricane Irene is repaired

A 6-mile stretch of Route 2 that was closed after Hurricane Irene was reopened to traffic last week, the Department of Transportation announced.

The portion of Route 2 in Berkshire County from the town of Florida to western Charlemont had been shut down since Aug. 27 after significant portions were badly damaged and rendered undrivable. It the last major roadway shut down by storm damage to reopen, said MassDOT spokesman Michael Verseckes.

Because of around-the-clock work by contractors, the $23 million in repairs were completed “right on target,’’ he said. The department wanted the work completed before a major snowfall, which would make construction work difficult.

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“A job of this magnitude would have ordinarily taken at least one entire construction season, if not more, to complete,’’ said Highway Administrator Frank DePaola, in a written statement. “But with a critical artery like Route 2, we were innovative in our bidding process and able to move aggressively on design and construction.’’

Route 2 is a highly trafficked and important road. During the construction, the only detour traversed Routes 8, 116, and 112 and ran nearly 37 miles around a vast forest.

Though some repairs to the retaining wall are unfinished, Verseckes said, that construction will have no impact on traffic.

The repairs are eligible for reimbursement from the federal government as part of its disaster aid program.

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