Federal Spending Bill to Help Speed Haverhill’s Basiliere Bridge Replacement, Solve Sewage Issues

Congresswoman Lori Trahan conducts a tour Jan. 6, 2022 in Haverhill. (Courtesy photograph.)

Expedited replacement of the Basiliere Bridge, between downtown Haverhill and the city’s Bradford section, is projected thanks to the recently approved federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The news came Thursday as Congresswoman Lori Trahan took officials on a tour, highlighting “historic investments in bridges and water infrastructure,” including the 1925-era bridge and combined sewage overflows plaguing the Merrimack River flowing beneath it.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is so transformative for our Commonwealth because it takes bold action to tackle the issues our working families consistently face,” said Trahan. “Crumbling bridges and harmful CSOs plague Bay Staters everywhere, but especially families that live along the Merrimack River. This historic legislation invests billions in new funding to repair and rebuild bridges like the Basiliere Bridge here in Haverhill, with additional investments to finally upgrade our water infrastructure and stop sewage overflows,” she said.

State officials say a Preliminary Structures Report recommends “full replacement” of the Basiliere Bridge which will take three and a half years to complete. Bridge replacement concepts are expected to be ready this spring and will be followed by design development, permitting, awarding the job to a contractor and construction.

Massachusetts is set to receive at least $1.1 billion for bridge replacements and repairs over the next five years. The legislation also invests a total of $55 billion to upgrade community water systems and replace lead service lines. Of that funding, Massachusetts will receive at least $1.1 billion over the next half-decade to improve water infrastructure in communities across the Commonwealth. Communities will also be eligible for additional grants to specifically address combined sewage overflows and dangerous PFAS contaminations.

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini said he also hopes to use some of the federal money “to complete our transformative downtown Merrimack Street redevelopment project.”

Merrimack Valley Planning Commission Transportation Planner Anthony Komornick confirmed the cash infusion will “provide the opportunity to accelerate spending on three major bridge projects”—rehabilitation of the bridge that carries I-495 over the MBTA tracks and Route 28 in Andover, the replacement of the I-495 bridge over the Merrimack River between Methuen and Haverhill and the replacement of the Basiliere Bridge in downtown Haverhill.”

Besides Trahan, Fiorentini and Komornick, others on the tour were state Reps. Andy Vargas, Linda Dean Campbell and Christina Minicucci; Haverhill city councilors, Haverhill Community Development Division Director Andrew K. Herlihy; and UMass Lowell Innovation Initiatives Senior Director and Innovation Hub Director Tom O’Donnell.

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