Draft bridge designs shared for $54M project in Montague

The White Bridge over the Connecticut River between Greenfield and Turners Falls, pictured, is one of three bridges slated for replacement as part of a $54 million project.

The White Bridge over the Connecticut River between Greenfield and Turners Falls, pictured, is one of three bridges slated for replacement as part of a $54 million project. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By ERIN-LEIGH HOFFMAN

Staff Writer

Published: 06-11-2024 6:22 PM

MONTAGUE – Town officials got an early look Monday at draft designs for a $54 million bridge replacement project that is expected to begin in the spring of 2027.

The mass replacement, to be overseen by the state Department of Transportation, will include the White Bridge, the cross-canal Green Bridge and Sixth Street’s Bailey Bridge. Funding is expected to come from the Franklin Regional Council of Governments’ Transportation Improvement Plan.

The Selectboard on Monday viewed two design drafts created by Stantec, the design firm working with MassDOT, referred to as Designs 2 and 3. An initial replacement design was presented, Design 1, but was eliminated from consideration due to its major impact on traffic. MassDOT project manager Robert Antico said MassDOT prefers the second design, due to its similarity to the current bridge alignment and the impact of construction on traffic, as well as in consideration of access to existing property at the canal.

Stantec representative Dennis Reip provided diagrams of the current bridges and draft designs of the two alternative bridge alignments. The White Bridge, connecting Greenfield’s Turners Falls Road to Montague, would be moved from its current location either 70 feet south in Design 2, or 430 feet south in Design 3. Design 2 would entail a more gradual incline, whereas Design 3 would have a steeper profile, creating speed concerns for those traveling on the bridge.

Design 2 was most favorable to MassDOT and Stantec in an effort to mitigate issues that may arise during and after construction.

“We are very adamant that Alternative 2 is the best alternative,” Antico said. “Alternative 3 just poses some scenarios that we don’t like, mainly that the grade is unsafe.”

In a graphic comparing the two design alternatives, several issues were detailed by Reip, including overall roadway alignment, roadway profile grade over the river, impacts to 36 and 42 Canal St. as well as 11 Power St., traffic construction, and operation and maintenance. Other considerations included how either design would impact the environment, bridge utilities and traffic volume.

A decision regarding which bridge design to pursue was not reached during Monday’s meeting. According to Town Administrator Steve Ellis, the Montague Selectboard will make the final decision on which design to pursue. A decision in expected in the coming weeks to move the project forward.

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Erin-Leigh Hoffman can be reached at ehoffman@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.