Bradford Railroad Overpass Gets $7.6 Million Federal Grant for a ‘Modern’ Two-Track Bridge

(File photograph courtesy of MBTA.)

Haverhill’s South Elm Street Railroad overpass, whose narrow supports are blamed for auto traffic congestion, will be replaced with, what officials described as a “modern two-track rail bridge,” paid by a more than $7.6 million federal grant.

Congresswoman Lori Trahan, Sen. Edward J. Markey and Congressman Seth Moulton said in a joint release Thursday that the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority will receive the additional money through the Department of Transportation’s Federal-State Partnership Grant. The bridge is used by Amtrak’s Downeaster service and the MBTA’s commuter rail service between Boston and Haverhill.

“Like so many bridges in Haverhill, the century-old South Elm Street Bridge is in serious need of repair. And, much like the Basiliere Bridge just up the street, we’re delivering the federal funding to get it done,” said Trahan.

Haverhill City Councilor Melinda E. Barrett last month asked if the new bridge could be made wider to allow an additional, right-turning lane below. Karl E. Eckstrom of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation told councilors the narrow width of the roadway below will likely stay the same.

“To make the bridge longer and effectively open it up to make the roadway wider is a much more invasive project and much more time consuming and the abutments that are there are historic. They would probably have to remain in place anyway,” he said.

Markey said “The Orange Line shutdown has made clear that delaying repairs and renovation today means depriving riders of reliable and safe service in the future.” Moulton added, “This funding for a new two-track rail bridge in Haverhill is the type of smart investment we need right now.”

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