HUNTINGTON – Charles “Chip” Dazelle, the town’s Highway Superintendent, is pumped about the work he’s been able to do over the last few months.
“We’ve had $516,000 worth of work done in town this summer,” he said, standing in front of the latest project on Basket Street. “And it only cost Huntington about $50,000.”
Dazelle started working on a grant for the Basket Street sidewalk replacement project in 2010. This year, the town received $159,000 from HUD (Housing & Urban Development) and CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) which paid for it in full. He said the Board of Selectmen was very helpful in the grant process, as was the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. The project engineer was White Engineering, Inc. of Pittsfield, who contracted the job to Gomes Construction Company of Ludlow.
Dazelle said the town is paying $21,000 for the blacktop currently being done by Lane Construction of Westfield, but they saved $8,000 on that because when the sidewalks were being done, Gomes Construction raised the manholes and catch basins for them.
The town also placed a culvert with four feet of gravel and a new guard rail on Goss Hill with a Hazardous Mitigation Grant of $129,000 through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). This grant was a 75/25 percent split. Dazelle worked with Tighe & Bond on the paperwork for the grant, which repaired damage done by Tropical Storm Irene. After the 2011 storm, the town had to put in $100,000 just to fill the ditches that were washed out.
Another completed project is the milling and paving of County Road. The cost of $229,000 was 100 percent funded by Chapter 90 funds. Dazelle said the state put an extra $100 million in Chapter 90 funds this year, and Huntington received an additional $83,000, on top of the $165,000 they usually receive. That project hadn’t been done since 2000.
“We’re grateful for what the governor and the senators did,” Dazelle said. “I hope they do it again.”
He thinks the townspeople should write the governor in support of the extra $100 million for Chapter 90 every year.
Huntington has 25 miles of blacktop and 12 miles of dirt roads, and a three-man road crew. Dazelle said he gets frustrated when he sees $6 to $10 million being spent on bike trails when the roads and bridges are falling apart.
“Just to put a mile of black top, a two-inch overlay, costs about $110,000,” he said. “For us to do a mile of road a year, it’s going to take me 20 years.”
He said they were able to do the extra roads this year because of the grants they received. Otherwise, the town doesn’t have the money.
“We’re a small town,” he said. “I’m just trying to save my roads.”