Funding for bridge replacement on Feb. 25 Town Meeting warrant

  • The Chestnut Hill Loop bridge in Montague has been closed since August pending replacement. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The Chestnut Hill Loop bridge in Montague h Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 2/22/2021 3:12:02 PM

MONTAGUE — The bridge on Chestnut Hill Loop is set to be replaced this year, pending Town Meeting approval of the town’s contribution to the mostly grant-funded project.

The bridge has been slated for replacement for about a year, but was closed unexpectedly in the fall after an inspection by the state Department of Transportation (MassDOT) found structural issues.

If approved by Town Meeting voters, construction will start in June, and the bridge should be reopened by the end of the summer, said Town Planner Walter Ramsey.

The Special Town Meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m. It is being held online, due to the difficulty of gathering safely during the pandemic.

The Chestnut Hill Loop bridge replacement article requests $77,150 for the project.

The town’s portion accounts for about 15 percent of the total cost, Ramsey said. The project is primarily funded with a $450,000 grant from MassDOT.

“The project was designed as efficiently as possible,” Ramsey said. “This is what the project cost came out at, which is typical for a bridge throughout the region.”

The new bridge will be designed more like a culvert than the existing defunct bridge, and the design meets the higher environmental standards that now exist, Ramsey said.

The new bridge will make travel easier for residents of Chestnut Hill Loop, which loops from East Chestnut Hill Road and has no outlets. Without the bridge in service, residents on the far side of the bridge have to drive about 2 miles extra around the loop.

Completion of the project will also allow Montague to move its focus to some of its other bridges in need of service, Ramsey said. Those include some small, neighborhood bridges like the one on Chestnut Hill Loop, and some higher traffic ones, like the one on Power Street in the Canal District of Turners Falls.

“This is one of many bridges in the process,” Ramsey said. “It would be nice to get at least one bridge back in order, so we can continue to focus on other bridges, both big and small.”

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




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