Replacement of Basiliere Bridge Prominent in State Bridge and Road Spending Plan

Gov. Charlie Baker discusses rebuilding plans Feb. 3 as Congresswoman Lori Trahan, Sen. Edward Markey and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito look on. (Courtesy photograph.)

Haverhill’s crumbling Basiliere Bridge over the Merrimack River has moved to the front of the line as Gov. Charlie Baker and state officials unveiled plans to spend $3 billion on bridges and roads over the next five years using a combination of federal infrastructure grants and the Commonwealth’s own Next Generation Bridge Program.

The announcement was made yesterday by Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides near the “temporary,” 40-year-old Rourke Bridge in Lowell. The Rourke Bridge will also be replaced at a cost of $170 million.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will deliver billions in funding to the Commonwealth, helping to build on the investments our administration has made over the past seven years to improve our roads and bridges, and make our public transportation system more reliable and resilient,” said Baker.

Congresswoman Lori Trahan was the first to say early in January that the Ralph T. Basiliere Bridge project would be accelerated. A Preliminary Structures Report already recommended “full replacement” of the Basiliere Bridge with a scheduled start date three years from now. It is not known how much faster the project can be completed since designs won’t be ready until this spring and design development, permitting, naming a contractor and construction will follow.

Officials said the $1.1 billion in new bridge money, coupled with the state’s $1.25 billion Next Generation Bridge program, allows the state Department of Transportation to address more than a third of the structurally deficient bridge backlog. MassDOT has already begun by starting more than 146 bridge repair or replacement projects on 181 bridges across the Commonwealth.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law delivers $9.5 billion total to the state, including $5.4 billion for highways, $2.2 billion for the MBTA, $591 million for regional transit authorities and $1.4 billion for environmental work. Locally, the money is also being earmarked to build the Lawrence Manchester Rail Trail in Lawrence and the Tewksbury Street Bridge in Andover over the railroad corridor.

Comments are closed.