Mayor, Council Try to Speed I-495 Bridge Reconstruction

David S. Van Dam, chief of staff to Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini, said the city is placing pressure on the state to speed up bridge replacement. (WHAV News photograph.)

Haverhill officials are trying to persuade the state to expedite repair of the Interstate 495 bridge spanning the Merrimack River between the River Street and Ward Hill exits.

In the meantime, state inspectors will take closer and more frequent looks at the bridge, David S. Van Dam, Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s chief of staff told city councilors Tuesday night.

The bridge is slated for a $100 million replacement project beginning in 2018, Van Dam said.

But recent and repeated damage to the paved surface—most recently a pothole on March 29 that flattened the tires of at least 10 cars—has local officials concerned about public safety if the project doesn’t begin soon.

Van Dam said Mayor James J. Fiorentini asked the state Department of Transportation to consider an emergency procurement of money to hasten the project.

“The mayor is putting pressure on the state agency to get (the bridge) onto the 2017 construction list, but there’s no commitment that it can be moved,” Van Dam said.

Councilor William J. Macek agreed the state should find a way to appropriate emergency funding.

Noting that the water flowing beneath the highway bridge was visible through the large pothole that opened last week, Macek posed the question, “Can you get a hole big enough for a car to fall through?” saying he fears what could happen next.

Councilors voted to send a letter to the city’s legislative delegation asking members to put pressure on the state transportation department to speed replacement of the bridge.

3 thoughts on “Mayor, Council Try to Speed I-495 Bridge Reconstruction

  1. This bridge is the perfect example of a corrupt, incompetent government run by liberal Democrat thieves.

    The national “average cost” to maintain individual state roadways is $161,000.00 per mile. The cost to maintain state roads in Massachusetts is $675,000.00 per mile. Massachusetts pays 4 times the national average to maintain its roadways and the end result is there are bridges like this all over the state. By comparison, New Hampshire’s cost to maintain its state roads is $175,000 per mile.

    People are paying a $00.24 tax for every gallon of gas they buy in Massachusetts. With potholes everywhere and crumbling bridges where does all the money go?

    The State Legislature votes itself a pay raise, the state pays out $1.9Billion in welfare to criminal illegal trespassers in the state EVERY year, the UMass University system adds $40Million in salary costs in just a couple of years and on and on. Meanwhile the thieving hacks rob from the transportation fund to pay for it all.

    And great news!!! The hacks want to construct electronic tolling on EVERY state highway in Massachusetts. They claim they’re not raising enough money!!!

    • Your 1.9 billion dollar figure comes from FAIR.

      The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), is an anti-immigrant organization that has been identified as a hate group since 2008 because of its virulent and false attacks on non-white immigrants.

      FAIR is a lobbying organization. FAIR doesn’t peddle facts; it peddles hate. Its lobbying and legal efforts are based on fomenting fear, on exploiting racial tensions and economic anxieties to convince people that the source of all their problems are illegal immigrants.

      By defending racism, encouraging xenophobia and nativism, and giving its all to efforts to keep America white, FAIR has more than earned its place in the pantheon of hate groups.

  2. Reactionary once again. This has been happening for two decades and hardly a word until something happens. Folks, please wake up and pay attention before these things happen. There are people within the state that understand what is happening and can help you. When you stay within your city boundaries, clinging to your little fiefdom, you become “blinded by the light”, as the song goes. If you reach out regularly and often, you will be able to help these things along. Years ago someone tried, but leadership ignored the offers. The council needs to take the lead and take it hard and fast if they want Haverhill not to be forgotten.