More than 20 county bridges need $80M in repairs

  • According to the state Department of Transportation, General Pierce Bridge from Greenfield to Montague will go out to bid in 2020. The bridge is one of more than 20 throughout the county that need replacement, rehabilitation or reconstruction. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 5/21/2019 10:55:29 PM

The state plans to either start or complete more than 20 bridge projects across the county over the next several years at a cost of more than $80 million.

Bridges throughout Franklin County are at different stages of disrepair, and the projects are at different stages of design, construction or about to be completed. Some bridges are in need of immediate attention, while others can wait, according to the state.

The new U.S. News and World Report has ranked Massachusetts first in education, second in health care and fourth in crime and correction, but 44th out of 50 in infrastructure.

According to the state Department of Transportation (DOT), the projects that will happen over the next few years include the General Pierce Bridge in Montague City, the replacement of the Nash’s Mill Road bridge, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year, and many others.

Patrick Marvin, communications officer with the state DOT, said the agency is continuing to develop a project for the General Pierce Bridge to improve its condition. He said the state expects the project will be more defined and go out to bid in 2020.

Earlier this year, the state banned fire trucks from crossing the General Pierce Bridge, which connects the east side of Greenfield with Montague City. The bridge has been deemed safe enough to withstand other types of vehicles, including a typical ambulance. More than 19,000 vehicles cross the bridge on some days.

The bridge is still open for general use, though it is closed during the day this week for repair. According to Marvin, “crews will be conducting bridge deck and sidewalk repair operations” throughout the week.

Marvin said the decision to ban fire trucks was based on a recent bridge inspection, as well as safety considerations and need for the bridge to remain stable. The bridge has almost routinely had emergency closures to fix issues, like when it had 9-inch hole in it in 2016.

Marvin said the project will likely cost about $18 million.

Nash’s Mill Road bridge

The 85-year-old bridge that crosses over the Green River on Nash’s Mill Road has been closed to motorists since last October, and the state is currently replacing it at a cost of about $3 million.

The work includes replacing the bridge, widening shoulders and installing new sidewalks. The new single-span, 105-foot steel beam bridge will be wider and include 10-foot lanes, 4-foot shoulders and a 5-foot sidewalk on the south side.

Last year, the bridge was determined to be “functionally obsolete” and “structurally deficient.” According to a 2013 traffic study by the state, close to 7,000 traversed the bridge each day.

A detour has been established until the work is completed.

Other bridges

In Deerfield, the $7.3 million McClelland Farm Road bridge project will be completed in August 2020. The bridge is being replaced with a 45-foot-wide bridge and roadways and sidewalks are being reconstructed in the area. It will have sidewalks on both sides.

In Buckland and Charlemont, the state will be doing some rehabilitation on a 65-year-old bridge that crosses over the Deerfield River. The cost of that project is expected to be $9.2 million.

Marvin said the bridge is showing signs of age. He said there have been previous steel and deck repairs, but it needs more, including more steel repairs, a deck replacement, cleaning and painting. He said construction will begin in fall 2020.

Also in Charlemont, a temporary bridge on West Oxbow Road over Wilder Brook will be replaced at a cost of $1.4 million. That project will be advertised later this year, begin in spring 2020 and be completed in fall 2020. There will be a detour during construction.

On Tower Road in Charlemont, the bridge over Chickley River, which is closed because of structural deficiencies, will be replaced at a cost of $4.4 million. The project is currently being advertised and construction will begin in summer 2020.

A $1.5 million bridge replacement will also happen on East Oxbow Road over Oxbow Brook, but that won’t go out to bid until 2022. The bridge is currently restricted in width and posted with a weight restriction because of deterioration of the steel beams. The bridge will be closed during construction.

A $9.8 million bridge replacement over the North River on Route 112 in Colrain was just completed, and in 2023, two other bridges that cross over the North River on Route 112 will be preserved by sealing cracks in their decks.

In Conway, a $4 million project to replace the bridge over Poland Brook will begin in 2023 or 2024, while a $1.7 million bridge replacement over West Branch Brook in Heath is in the design phase.

Replacing Rowe’s Cyrus Stage Road bridge over Potter Brook will cost $2 million. The project is in the early design stages and will go out to bid in early 2022. The bridge is restricted in width and weight because of deterioration of the steel fascia beams.

In Shelburne, the Bardswell’s Ferry Road bridge over Dragon Brook needs to be replaced, and Marvin said it is currently in the construction phase. the $1.6 million project will be completed in November.

A $2 million bridge replacement over Shattuck Brook in Bernardston is in the design phase and will go out to bid in March 2020.

Another bridge in Deerfield that crosses Route 116 over Mill River is in the early design phase. It will cost $2.3 million to replace it, while bridge preservation on Upper Road over the Deerfield River will cost $6.5 million. That project is in the design phase.

In Erving, the bridge on Church Street over Keyup Brook will be replaced at a cost of $1.8 million — it is in the early design stage.

Leverett will have its Millers Road bridge, which crosses over Roaring Brook, replaced for a cost of $1.1 million. The project is in the design stage and is expected to go out to bid in 2022.

In Northfield, the Birnam Road bridge over Mill Brook will be replaced at a cost of $2.5 million. It is in the early design phase and a date has not been set for the beginning of construction.

Orange’s Holtshire Road bridge over the Millers River is under construction and is expected to be completed in fall 2020. The project will cost $4.6 million, while another bridge replacement on Logan Road over Tully River will cost $1.3 million. That project is in the design phase.

According to the DOT, as with all construction projects, dates are subject to change.


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