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For Immediate Release: 01/29/2014
CONTACT: Kelly Smith, 857-368-8984

MBTA Awards Contract to Repair Merrimack River Bridges

Three Bridges Spanning the Merrimack River in Haverhill to Be Fully Rehabilitated

BOSTON – January 29, 2014– The MassDOT Board of Directors today authorized MBTA General Manager and Rail & Transit Administrator Dr. Beverly Scott to execute a contract to repair and rehabilitate three bridges spanning the Merrimack River in Haverhill. The bridge work will allow the MBTA to continue to operate safe and reliable Commuter Rail service on the Haverhill Line. A contract of $23,937,000.00 was authorized to be awarded to JV: LM Heavy Civil Construction and Cooperativa Muratori & Cementisti – CMC di Ravenna.

The Merrimack River bridge, Merrimack River North Approach bridge and the Washington Street bridge comprise twelve spans over approximately 1,042 feet across the Merrimack River from Bradford to Haverhill. The bridges were originally constructed between the late 1800s and 1920s and are in need of repair due to advancing age. In his presentation to the MassDOT board today, MBTA Assistant General Manager for Design & Construction Ed Hunter said, “This contract will address the first of a two-contract construction plan to rehabilitate the superstructure of the bridges and strengthen their land piers.”

“The maintenance and upkeep of our infrastructure is of paramount importance to our work at the MBTA,” said MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott. “Safety is our number one priority and these necessary repairs to these bridges will ensure we are able to continue safe and reliable Commuter Rail service over the Merrimack River.”

Under the MBTA Bridge Management Program, these bridges are closely monitored with periodic inspection and live load rating analysis to assure they are safe for service. After careful monitoring and thoughtful review, a decision was made to repair the entire bridge superstructure at once, taking into account cost, service impacts and other factors.

Construction is expected to take 36 months from the signing of the Notice to Proceed and is expected to begin this spring. Once work begins, buses will replace train service for a limited number of off-peak trips (three per day), likely beginning in April. All other scheduled trains will operate on a regular schedule and Haverhill Station will stay open for service. There will also be six weekends between September 2014 and November of 2016 in which train service will be suspended to accommodate construction activity. As construction nears, the MBTA will issue service alerts to its Haverhill Line customers and provide variable message sign boards at Bradford and Haverhill stations, offering updates to customers.

In 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) was created to unify the state’s various transportation agencies. MassDOT now includes the Highway Division, the MBTA and Rail Transit Division, the Aeronautics Division, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles.  MassDOT is committed to providing a safe and reliable transportation system to all those who travel in the Commonwealth and works to deliver excellent customer service. MassDOT has been nationally recognized for its innovative approach to transportation, including the Accelerated Bridge Program, the “Where’s My Bus and Train?” apps and “Fast 14” work.  For more information, visit MassDOT at our website: www.mass.gov/massdot  blog: http://blog.mass.gov/transportation/, or follow MassDOT on twitter at https://twitter.com/MassDOT   and Facebook at www.facebook.com/massdotinfo.

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