MassDOT shares plans for Church Street bridge replacement in Erving

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 04-19-2024 12:58 PM

ERVING — The state Department of Transportation held a public hearing on Thursday to outline its plan to replace the Church Street bridge over Keyup Brook starting in the spring of 2025.

The bridge connects Church Street to North Street, and the Selectboard was notified by MassDOT in early 2021 that the structure needed to be reduced to one lane of traffic until it could be replaced. The Selectboard entered into a contract with Weston & Sampson engineers to evaluate traffic detours and preliminary feasibility designs.

Louis Bacho, a project manager with Weston & Sampson, told the 16 people who attended the hearing either in person at the Erving Senior & Community Center or remotely that the bridge was built in 1940 and is in poor shape, well beyond its useful lifespan. He said there are safety issues with the guardrails on Church Street and the ones attached to the bridge. He also mentioned that the sidewalk on the bridge and crosswalk are not compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.

The project’s objective is to replace the existing bridge with a new pre-cast concrete structure, Bacho said. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2025.

On Thursday, MassDOT conducted a poll of attendees to ask them their preferred railing for the bridge. Half the respondents indicated they would like to see an open metal railing while the other attendees were evenly split between an open concrete bridge rail and a solid concrete bridge rail with a handrail.

The construction phase will consist of the contractor permanently relocating overhead utilities while roadway and pedestrian traffic operates as it currently does. The bridge will then be closed, with a detour in place, and demolition will begin. Bacho said access to and from all properties and businesses will remain open via the detour.

MassDOT assured that communication with residents will take place during the entire construction.

According to Bacho, Erving is responsible for acquiring all necessary land rights for design, construction and implementation of this project. Fee-takings, permanent easements and temporary construction easements may be necessary. Affected property owners will be contacted by Erving personnel or consultants representing the town. The right-of-way process has not yet been finalized.

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More information is available at tinyurl.com/ChurchStreetBridge.

Residents can email comments to MassDOTProjectManagement@dot.state.ma.us. Written comments can be sent to Carrie Lavallee, P.E., Chief Engineer; MassDOT; 10 Park Plaza; Boston MA, 02116. Attention to: Roadway Project Management, Project File No. 612982.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-930-4120.