Repairs for Basiliere Bridge Still a Few Years Away, Says City Engineer

A view of Haverhill's Basiliere Bridge as seen from the Merrimack River. (WHAV News photograph by Jay Saulnier)

Mayor James J. Fiorentini said in a Twitter post last month that the state has been promising to repair Basiliere Bridge for nearly a decade. (WHAV News photograph by Jay Saulnier.)

Haverhill’s Basiliere Bridge is still waiting for funding to undergo major renovations—and money is not expected to make its way to the city any time soon.

During a meeting of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, City Engineer John H. Pettis said the estimated $64 million needed to repair the bridge has not been paid for by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation as of yet, despite the city completing the structure report required to facilitate construction. Pettis told WHAV the surface of the bridge needs to be completely replaced and the abutments, or substructures upon which the majority of the bridge rests upon, require rehabilitation. There are also plans to add a bikeway to the bridge.

Pettis told WHAV that the delay in funding could be due to many bridges in Massachusetts being in disrepair, with structures in the most critical of shape getting priority. Upon starting the project, repairs could take around three years to complete. The Basiliere bridge has been classified as “structurally deficient” since at least 2003, with roughly 35,000 vehicles continuing to travel it daily.

Council petitioner Joseph J. Bevilacqua asked the committee to discuss the bridge at the meeting in order to continue receiving updates about the project.

As WHAV reported last month, a state-sanctioned subcontractor made repairs to the bridge after Mayor James J. Fiorentini expressed anger over the Commonwealth’s slow response. A full replacement of the bridge is not expected until sometime after 2021.