Night Travel on I-495 to Be Limited with $2.9 Million Bridge Repairs

Motorists can expect overnight lane closures on I-495 near Ward Hill until fall as the state tackles $2.9 million in bridge repairs requested by local and state officials.

The bridge, while pothole-prone for years, received much attention near the end of March as 10 automobiles were sidelined with flat tires along the southbound lanes just before the Ward Hill exit. While state transportation officials said replacement bridges are still in the works, the current project will help smooth out the roadway. Work includes bridge deck, joint and other structural repairs, followed by milling the existing surface and repaving with a waterproofing concrete pavement.

“I am happy to work with MassDOT, which continues to consider and respond to the concerns of our commuters by addressing these much-needed repairs to the I-495 bridge,” said Haverhill Rep. Brian S. Dempsey Tuesday. “These repairs will provide improvements that will ensure a safer and smoother ride for all drivers.”

Plans call for all lanes of the highway to remain open during peak commuter hours.

“The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has scheduled the work in a way designed to have the least impact on vehicle travel as possible,” said acting Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “A full bridge replacement project will be undertaken in the future, but until then, these interim repairs in the overnight hours will ensure that the necessary maintenance we are aware of now is addressed as soon as possible until the major work can begin.”

Following the tire-flattening pothole incident March 29, Mayor James J. Fiorentini and City Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien, among others, asked Dempsey for help. At the time, O’Brien told WHAV, “We’ve had numerous problems with the bridge. I think back about the poor llama that almost got thrown off the bridge in a trainer. And then it was followed some months later by, I think it was, a horse trailer. So, what’s next? Is it going to be a human life that is taking a toll?”

MassDOT encourages drivers to seek alternate routes, if possible, to avoid delays, during the overnight work at the I-495 bridge. Drivers that must travel through the affected area should expect delays, reduce speed and use caution while traveling through the work zone.