The Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) board of directors voted to move forward with the final of five Mega Projects within the Patrick Administration’s Accelerated Bridge Program (ABP), a $197 million interchange improvement project in Fall River that increases connectivity, improves safety and removes an elevated structure that has been long seen as a barrier to waterfront development.
“After years of neglect, the Accelerated Bridge Program has allowed us to dramatically improve our bridge infrastructure and stimulate economic growth all over Massachusetts,” said Gov. Deval Patrick. “The Accelerated Bridge Program is a key part of our growth strategy that is creating jobs today while leaving a stronger Commonwealth for the next generation.”
The Fall River Interchange Improvement Project is one of five Mega Projects in ABP which account for approximately one-third of the total $3 billion ABP investment in the Commonwealth’s bridges.
“This project will be transformative for the city of Fall River,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. “Fall River will see an infusion of 300 jobs associated with this project and be in a position to capitalize on new economic development thanks to these infrastructure improvements.”
The five Mega Projects are:
• Burns Bridge Replacement $89 million,
• Fall River Interchange Improvement Project $197 million,
• Fore River Bridge Replacement $245 million,
• Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation $255 million, and
• Whittier Bridge Replacement $292 million.
Both the Burns Bridge and Fore River projects are currently under construction. Construction is scheduled to ramp up in July on the Longfellow and Whittier Bridges.
In Fall River, Milliken Boulevard is currently under construction to better accommodate traffic during this interchange improvement project. The remaining structural repairs and the painting to the Braga Bridge are included in the $197 million project.
“The MassDOT Highway Division is pleased to have contractor Barletta Heavy and its partner O&G onboard,” said Highway Administrator Frank DePaola. “Barletta has a long history of delivering quality projects for the Commonwealth and presented us with a superior technical proposal on this project.”
The ABP program is using innovative and accelerated project development and construction techniques. As a result, projects are completed on-time, on-budget and with minimum disruption to people and to commerce. Since 2008, the number of structurally deficient bridges has dropped from 543 to 436, a decline of 19.7 percent. As of January 1, 2013 the ABP Program has completed 121 bridge projects, with another 48 bridge projects currently in construction and an additional 20 bridge projects scheduled to start construction within the next year. Over the course of the eight year program, well over 200 bridges are planned to be replaced or repaired.