Green Bridge to get fix as canal is drawn down

  • The Fifth Street Bridge in Turners Falls, also known as the Green Bridge, is going to be closed for repairs beginning the week of Sept. 17, according to town officials. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

Staff Writer
Published: 9/12/2018 12:26:05 AM

MONTAGUE — The Fifth Street Bridge, also known as the Green Bridge, in Turners Falls will be undergoing repairs beginning Monday, the week the power canal will be drawn down. These repairs fall just a month after the road was reopened following the completion of the repairs to the adjacent White Bridge, which spans the Connecticut River.

The road will be closed for repairs once again for several weeks, according to Highway Department Superintendent Tom Bergeron.

Bergeron came before the Selectboard to present updates from the department on Monday.

The Fifth Street Bridge, which is near the old paper mills, is going to be fixed beginning when the canal is drawn down.

“They’re going to fix what they can fix underneath the bridge because it’s only closed for a week,” Bergeron said.

He said according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), they don’t have all the product they need to fix the deck — the part which is driven on.

“The bridge will be closed down and it will be closed and stay closed until they can get the product and fix the deck,” Bergeron said. “Which will be for several weeks according to what DOT is saying.”

Selectboard Chairman Richard Kuklewicz said he was happy to hear that the bridge is getting fixed.

“It’s good that they’re going to fix that,” Kuklewicz said. “We’ve gotten a couple of folks that have had damage to their vehicles who have asked us who owns the bridge. I drive over it regularly and I just got used to going back over the bridge.”

Selectman Christopher Boutwell said the repairs need to be made to the Fifth Street Bridge before work can be done to the General Pierce Bridge.

Selectman Michael Nelson said he’s scraped the bottom of his car while crossing the Green Bridge.

“I’ve driven it all summer long in my little Honda Civic, and I scraped on it for the first time today,” Nelson said.

Bergeron said he was taken under the bridge during the draw down last year, and the bridge itself is in pretty good structural condition. The hump is a separate issue.

The bridge has a large hump, due to the lack of an abutment on the mill side of the bridge. 

Kuklewicz said he wanted to recognize the town administrator, Steve Ellis’ efforts staying in touch with DOT to keep up with the repairs on local bridges.

“For all the hassle ... getting two bridges fixed in one month is incredible,” Nelson said.

Bergeron said the repairs to the bridges are necessary now because they will take extra traffic while the General Pierce Bridge, another major route to Greenfield, will be repaired in the next couple of years.

“You don’t have much choice when another major one is going to go down,” Bergeron said.

He estimated that the General Pierce Bridge repairs would be out to bid in 2019 and construction would occur in 2020.

Kuklewicz said the town tries to keep the pressure on MassDOT to keep in the mind the bridge’s condition continues to become worse, but everything is subject to the amount of funding available.

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