Erving considering options for potential Church Street Bridge replacement

  • The Church Street bridge connecting to North Street in Erving Center. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The Church Street bridge connecting to North Street in Erving Center. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 10/5/2021 3:17:34 PM

ERVING — The town is considering potential replacement of the Church Street Bridge.

The bridge, constructed in 1940 across Keyup Brook, was recently reduced to one-lane southbound traffic after its rating was lowered to a three-ton capacity.

An indefinite detour has been put in place and a truck exclusion remains on North and Church streets. Northbound traffic will be detoured to Route 63 or Interstate 91.

The Selectboard entered into a contract with Weston & Sampson engineers to consider preliminary design ideas should the town decide to replace the bridge. Reconstruction would entail a replacement of upper abutments, whereas the underlying substructure would remain. Otherwise, the design, timeline, and total cost of the project are unknown.

The bridge in place is a single-span cast-in-place concrete structure approximately 33 feet wide spanning 16 feet. The wearing surface is a 6-inch-thick bituminous concrete. The substructure that will be preserved consists of granite masonry walls faced with concrete.

Erving received a letter from the state Department of Transportation in August that officially necessitated the lower rating and lane restriction after initially notifying the town unofficially in early 2021. Assistant Town Planner Mariah Kurtz said knowing about MassDOT’s determination early in the year served as impetus for the town to seriously consider taking action to replace the bridge even before receiving the department’s official letter.

“Knowing that this letter was coming gave us a push,” Kurtz said.

At an Aug. 23 Selectboard meeting, Weston & Sampson Chief Structural Engineer Peter Grandy suggested multiple bridge design options, including a three-sided frame, a three-sided arch, and a box culvert. He also suggested different rail types, such as concrete parapets, concrete rails, and steel rails. While no decision has been made as to which designs might be adopted, Grandy and the Selectboard considered all options with the intention of maintaining the existing bottom abutment portion.

“Leaving the existing substructure in place minimizes demolition costs and reduces environmental impacts to the site,” Weston & Sampson said in its Bridge Type Selection Worksheet.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


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