Fifth Street pedestrian bridge to be relocated during replacement

  • The Fifth Street pedestrian bridge in Turners Falls has been out of commission since the summer of 2017, and is set to be replaced next spring. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • The Fifth Street pedestrian bridge in Turners Falls has been out of commission since the summer of 2017, and is set to be replaced next spring. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • The closed pedestrian bridge over the power canal in Turners Falls allowed for access to the former paper mills. Montague town officials have often pointed out that the lack of a functional pedestrian walkway is a major obstacle in encouraging redevelopment of the Canal District. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 7/2/2020 5:20:59 PM
Modified: 7/2/2020 5:20:49 PM

TURNERS FALLS — The Fifth Street pedestrian bridge is not only set to be replaced, but also to be moved about 40 feet downstream to the opposite side of the green vehicular bridge.

Construction of the new bridge in its new location is now planned for the spring of 2021, and will likely be finished by that summer, Town Planner Walter Ramsey said.

In December 2019, it was announced that the pedestrian bridge, which has been out of commission since the summer of 2017, will be replaced and paid for by a state grant worth about $2.1 million.

Montague town officials have often pointed out that the lack of a functional pedestrian walkway is a major obstacle in encouraging redevelopment of the Canal District, as most parking is on the opposite side of the canal.

As state Department of Transportation inspectors found in 2017, the pedestrian bridge has structural failings that are beyond repair. That being the case, the grant that was announced in December was originally intended to remove the current bridge and build an entirely new one, with no major differences from the current one.

However, Ramsey explained that preliminary design work found that the bridge in its present location does not meet modern accessibility standards. There is a step down from the sidewalk to the bridge, and no way to build around it, he noted.

The only alternative is to put the new bridge on the opposite side of the vehicular bridge, he said. Currently, the pedestrian bridge is immediately next to the vehicular bridge on the upstream side; the new bridge will be about 40 feet to the south, next to the vehicular bridge on the downstream side.

Engineering work is being done now. Ramsey said the town hopes to accept bids this winter for the construction work.

Reach Max Marcus at
mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.


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