Wednesday, April 14, 2010

This just in from Costello's office ... (press release)

As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state's economic future, Governor Deval Patrick, Senator Steven Baddour and Representative Michael Costello today announced that the timeline for reconstruction of the First Lieutenant Derek S. Hines Memorial Bridge has been further reduced to just under two years, rather than the originally scheduled three years.

The project was originally expedited to a two and a half year schedule, but using innovative construction project procurement techniques, the Patrick-Murray Administration's MassDOT Highway Division, in close collaboration with city officials, Senator Baddour, and Representative Costello, was able to cut another seven months from the construction timeline. The estimated timeline for closure of the bridge is now between 19 and 22 months.

"Because the Hines Bridge is so important to drivers and commuters in Greater Newburyport we are expediting construction to minimize delays. This project is another example of our commitment to the traveler by working to shorten construction schedules while maintaining the safest roads in the nation," said Governor Patrick.

"We had several meetings about this project with Highway Administrator Luisa Paiewonsky, the mayors, city councilors, selectmen and the three area chambers of commerce. The state heard the concerns expressed at these meetings and responded with a new construction schedule," said Representative Michael A. Costello. "This is great news. It will minimize the impact on local businesses and the residents of Amesbury, Newburyport and Salisbury."

"During these uncertain economic times, minimizing the timeframe in which businesses and residents in Amesbury, Newburyport, and Salisbury are adversely affected makes expedited reconstruction of the Hines Bridge vital to the regional economy and quality of life," said Senator Steven A. Baddour (D-Methuen), Chairman of the Joint Committee on Transportation. "I am pleased that MassDOT listened to our concerns and created a new construction schedule to address these important issues."

The Hines bridge, which connects Newburyport with Amesbury, is a design-build project scheduled to begin in October and conclude in May 2012. The bridge will be closed for the duration of the project. It was named after First Lieutenant Derek S. Hines, a 25-year-old Army Ranger who was killed in 2005 during a firefight in Afghanistan. Lt. Hines grew up in Newburyport and Amesbury.

MassDOT is using the design-build method on a number of projects, compressing the traditional design-bid-build method into a single entity with contractors responsible for design and construction of a project. Working together, design and construction teams are able to complete projects within shorter timelines.

"We are making unprecedented investments in rebuilding our transportation infrastructure. This design/build project is another example of our commitment to reducing the impact on surrounding communities whenever possible," said Jeffrey Mullan, MassDOT Secretary and CEO.

The $30.7 million project is being funded by the federal Highway Administration and the Commonwealth. The federal funding will pay for 80 percent of the project cost. The work consists of a major rehabilitation of the existing bridge, which carries Main Street over the Merrimack River. The work includes replacement of the deck system, new mechanical and electrical systems for the swing span, and rehabilitation of the stone masonry piers and abutments, wingwalls and sidewalk. The deck will be widened by 4.66 ft in order to accommodate requirements for traffic lanes, shoulders and sidewalk. This bridge abuts the Historic Chain Bridge, reconstructed by MassHighway in 2003.

The present bridge was erected in 1966 on the granite abutments, pivot pier and rest piers of an earlier swing bridge on the crossing, estimated to have been built in 1882.

It was scheduled for reconstruction after a barge hit it in November 2008. Temporary repairs were made at the time in preparation for the reconstruction. The new bridge will consist of a four-span superstructure with two fixed approach spans and two pivoting middle spans.

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Dick Monahan said...

Minnesota rebuilt the Interstate highway bridge that fell down in less than a year. California rebuilt many bridges after earthquakes in a few months. This is still way too long.

Of course, we are spending a zillion dollars on a new draw bridge so that a handful of sailboat owners can park upstream of this bridge. That's just stupid.

concerned said...

Chuckle time--the gov't minions say Hines Bridge 3 yrs to repair---politicians intervene and get it "expedited"--huh?. Now repair only 2yrs and six mos (feel better?). Politicians again intervene ((employ innovative procurement techniques (vis-a-vis i.e. spend faster---hard to learn, right?) )) Clever, heh!! Patrick, Baddour and Costello prance down (metaphorically speaking) State St saying "Lookee Me!!" and say soto voce to the minions who set up this farce of a project which should take no longer than 8 mos. Nice going dorks we will remember you at election time. My oh my .

Anonymous said...

They should simply leave it the way it is, weld the darned thing shut,and call it a day.

The Chain Bridge is enough vertical clearance for any commercial traffic that needs to get up or down river.

The controlling height on the New York State Barge Canal System is only 14 feet, after all.

And for the hundreds of millions we will save in tax dollars, we could easily spend a couple of thousand dollars to subsidize, for a year or two, the docking fees for the 6 or 8 sailboats that would otherwise inconvenienced. --- anon