$64 Million Basiliere Bridge Replacement Remains on Hold

Basiliere Bridge, as seen during an earlier phase of the Harbor Place construction project.

A $64 million plan to replace the route 125 Basiliere Bridge over the Merrimack River and add a bikeway will not be funded by the state until at least sometime after 2021, but a number of other local highway and rail projects begin or continue this year, according to a state plan released yesterday.

Improvements along Haverhill’s Main Street, expected to total $3.6 million, begin during the year beginning July 1 with $400,000 allocated in the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s new five-year capital investment plan. Completion of a section of a riverwalk in Bradford is also anticipated with $2 million in new spending.

“These important investments are one of many steps the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and MBTA are taking to improve the dependability of our core transit system and provide riders with a more reliable and efficient service,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “These capital dollars will allow for much-needed upgrades at the T, including signals, track and switches, as well as our roads, bridges and other infrastructure.”

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board approved a $14.8 billion capital plan that emphasizes reliability over expansion. The Baker administration, for example, is nearly doubling the amount of money—$476 million over five years—given to communities for local road repairs.

Nearly 60 percent of proposed spending is geared toward improving existing transportation systems, while 18 percent is aimed at modernizing existing roads and systems to accommodate “anticipated growth, increased accessibility and new safety standards.” A rare expansion project allocates $1.1 billion for Boston’s Green Line extension.

Elsewhere in the Merrimack Valley, the state will make down payments during the upcoming year on a $7.4 million route 28 bridge replacement over railroad tracks in Andover, $5.9 million rehabilitation of route 97 along School and Salem Streets in Groveland and $12.7 million resurfacing and substructure repairs along route 213 in Methuen.

The new capital improvement plan “marks the first time MassDOT and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) have worked together to create a comprehensive plan to improve its infrastructure,” officials said.