MassDOT shares plans for Charlemont bridge

  • A vehicle navigates the one-lane bridge on East Oxbow Road in Charlemont. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The one-lane bridge on East Oxbow Road in Charlemont. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

For the Recorder
Published: 4/6/2022 4:11:10 PM

CHARLEMONT — The state Department of Transportation (MassDOT) shared its plans for the proposed $3.7 million replacement of the East Oxbow Road Bridge on Tuesday.

Throughout a 30-minute webinar, MassDOT Project Manager Shahpar Negah outlined the issues with the existing bridge, plans for construction and the expected impact on traffic.

MassDOT describes the current bridge, which carries East Oxbow Road over Oxbow Brook as “structurally deficient.” There is a restriction on the weight of trucks that can pass through, and one out of four steel beams are out of service, Negah said.

The structure, which was originally built in 1940, only allows for one lane of traffic, even though the roadway approaches are wide enough to allow for two. MassDOT’s proposal includes a new bridge wide enough for two, 11-foot-wide travel lanes.

“Permanent or temporary easements may be required,” MassDOT’s proposal reads. “The town of Charlemont is responsible for acquiring all needed rights in private or public lands.”

Affected property owners will be contacted by town personnel or consultants affiliated with the project, the project team said.

East Oxbow Road will stay open during construction, and a temporary, one-lane bridge will be built to the west of the existing bridge to allow for traffic to pass through. Short-term full closures of the bridge are expected, Project Manager Chris Wall of CHA Consulting explained, but closures are not expected to last more than a day or two following advanced notice.

A 4.7-mile detour, via West Oxbow Road, will be used during the closures.

MassDOT engineer Mark Devylder said the landscaping team will look at the project and be in touch with the town about replacing trees that are removed during construction.

The next steps for the project, Negah said, are to incorporate public comments into the design, prepare final design submissions for MassDOT and the town, obtain environmental permits, and prepare and advertise for bidding in the fall and winter of 2023.

Comments on the project can be emailed to MassDOTProjectManagement@dot.state.ma.us with the subject line “Public Hearing Comments: Project File No. 608858.” Comments sent by April 19 will be included in the public hearing transcript.

An earlier version of this article included an incorrect email address for MassDOT.


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