Rural towns awarded $9M in “MassWorks” grants for road repairs

The towns of Charlemont, Chesterfield and Lee were each awarded about $1-million

BOSTON (WWLP) – Help is on the way for rural Massachusetts towns. The Baker administration awarded close to $9-million in MassWorks Infrastructure grants to help communities with populations of 7,000 or less repair roads and bridges.

Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash said the money will “make sure that it’s safe and convenient for people to be able to travel to work, travel to school, travel to places to play and to travel home at the end of the night.”

Communities have to apply for the “MassWorks” grants. The towns of Charlemont, Chesterfield and Lee were each awarded about $1-million.

The Baker administration believes safer roadways could lead to more business opportunities, especially in rural areas.

State Senator Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield) said the grants could help companies attract more customers and employees. He said, “This investment from the state partnered with local investment and private investment could mean jobs in rural communities and helping those employers grow.”

That’s certainly the case for Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Charlemont. Charlemont was awarded $950,000 to repair three of the town’s 46 bridges.

“We need the bridges to operate. People have to access our ski area and we employ up to about 300 people in the winter time, so there are a lot of jobs at stake,” said Jon Schaefer, general manager of the Berkshire East Mountain Resort.

Governor Baker plans to make a stop in Westfield on Tuesday to announce yet another “MassWorks” grant.