The Route 79 viaducts and ramps in Fall River were built in 1965 as part of the I-195 interchange with Route 79 near Battleship Cove. The mainline Route 79 elevated roadways and nine ramp structures consist of 111 spans including 21 two-level spans. These total over 8,700 feet in length. Time has taken a toll on the viaduct and ramps and, currently, 11 bridges within the interchange are structurally deficient and need rehabilitation.
The project area reaches from Route 138/Columbia Street north to Davol Street/Pearce Street and from Water Street to Milliken Boulevard. The project is being funded through the Commonwealth’s 2008 Accelerated Bridge Program and was initially a rehabilitation project. MassDOT’s 2009 Value Engineering Study examined ways to improve the "value" of the project and suggested removing the viaduct and replacing it with an “at-grade” roadway that would be combined with existing surface streets. In January 2010 MassDOT convened a Task Force of local and regional stakeholders to examine alternatives to address the interchange deficiencies, including removing the viaduct.
The proposed project consists of removing the two-level Route 79 viaduct and building an at-grade Route 79 that will use parts of existing streets (Broadway, Davol/Viaduct Street, and Davol Street). The at-grade roadway between Anawan/Pocasset Street and Central Street will be at the level of existing Davol/Viaduct Street and will be on a structure spanning the railroad tracks and the Quequechan River. The roadway will be four through lanes (two northbound and two southbound) for most of its length in the project area; exceptions are for turn lanes or auxiliary lanes.
New ramps will maintain connections with I-195, Broadway, Central Street, and Milliken Boulevard. Water Street Connector, a new two-way roadway, will improve access between the waterfront and Route 79. Sidewalk and bicycle accommodations will be improved along the at-grade roadway.
MassDOT will use a Design-Build procurement process to choose a DB team to build the project. Construction is expected to start in the summer 2013.
Status of the Route 79/I-195 Interchange Improvements Project
December 2012 Update
MassDOT consolidates Braga Bridge Phase II work with Rte. 79/I-195 Interchange Project
MassDOT has been preparing to implement the $88 million Phase II of structural repairs and cleaning and painting of structural steel on the Braga Bridge (I-195 over the Taunton River). This project will repair and clean the underside of the bridge deck and replace the concrete deck. The work includes paint removal and painting of structural steel for the bridge approach spans and portions of the main truss spans not addressed in the recently completed Phase I repairs.
Because the Phase II Braga Bridge work will be underway when the Route 79/I-195 Interchange Improvements Project starts, MassDOT combined the two projects to better manage temporary traffic impacts. With one Design-Build contractor working on the combined project, traffic management plans will be coordinated; communications with municipalities, abutters, and the driving public will be simplified; other efficiencies will be realized; and the work on the Braga Bridge will be completed faster.
If you have any questions, need further information, or want to be added to future informational mailing lists,
please contact Stephanie Boundy, Accelerated Bridge Project Public Outreach Coordinator