If you’ve traveled along the 495 corridor after dark lately, you may have noticed the night work underway on 495 in the Woburn St. area. In May of 2008, Governor Patrick introduced the $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program to reduce the Commonwealth’s backlog of structurally deficient bridges. The 8-year program represents a historic investment in the state’s infrastructure. The planning and commitment to the program by the state well-positioned the program to take optimal advantage of available federal stimulus funds.
“It’s clear to people across Massachusetts that our roads and bridges are in great need of repair,” said Director of Infrastructure Investment Jeffrey Simon. “Together with the capital investment plans the Administration has already begun, …additional recovery funds will allow us to make long-delayed improvements in our communities and quickly create the jobs that the men and women of the Commonwealth need.”
The primary goals and objectives of the Accelerated Bridge Program are to improve the condition of the Commonwealth’s bridges, stimulate economic development and job creation, save money by completing projects sooner, complete projects efficiently and innovatively, access and opportunity, and transparency and accountability.
As of August 10, 2009, 56 construction contracts totaling $395 million have been advertised as part of the Accelerated Bridge Program. This is particularly good news for Lowell with three of these Mass Highway projects located in the city, including the 495 Bridge Bundle, Hunts Falls Bridge and work to the Lowell Connector over Plain St.
True to the commitment to provide transparency, Mass Highway has provided a wealth of information online regarding these projects. Mass Highway has a dedicated website to the Accelerated Bridge Project which includes a Google map of all the projects across the state, with project related information at the click of a mouse.
In addition, interactive websites dedicated to specific projects are in development by Mass Highway as the projects progress. The 495-Woburn St. bridge bundle site launched last week. Despite the long term benefit of this work and the pledge to complete the work at an accelerated pace with a minimum disruption to people and commerce, road work projects do not come without short term pain and inconvenience for those who live along and travel the affected roadways. The “495 Bridge Bundle” site provides project specific information as well as access to those directly involved in the project. This type of accessibility to information and two-way communication is key. For more information visit http://www.mass.gov/acceleratedbridges