AP NEWS

Westminster Lands $455K Grant

May 18, 2019

WESTMINSTER — The steel beams are rusted and slowly corroding, and a potential collapse initially forced town officials to narrow one lane of traffic.

But, what residents might not know when they cross the Narrows Road bridge near Wyman Pond is that the surface, or the bridge deck, isn’t in the best shape, either.

To help remedy the issue, the town has received a $455,000 grant from the state Department of Transportation.

Board of Selectmen Chair Wayne Walker announced the Small Bridge Program grant on Monday. The program was created to aid communities in the replacement or preservation of municipally-owned bridges. Specifically, it funds small bridge projects which are not eligible for federal aid under existing programs.

The funds will help pay for reconstruction of the small bridge which includes replacing the bridge deck, work on the substructure, and water lines running beneath the bridge.

Director of Public Works Joshua Hall said he was notified by MassDOT that the town should consider narrowing down one of the lanes over the bridge because of its condition. The nearly 5,000 bridges across the state are on a two-year inspection plan except for those deemed structurally deficient, which are checked more often.

Following the notification, the town applied for the grant.

“The town is pleased and happy,” said Hall. “We appreciate everything that the state has done to award us that.”

The bridge was initially built in 1892, and reconstructed in 1950, according to MassDOT.

The steel beams aren’t as old but Hall said they are beyond repair at this stage and have visible holes in them.

The decision to move the traffic lane was made in part because of a fear it would collapse, he said.

Hall said the town is still in the early stages of the project and he hopes to get started on the design process as soon as possible.

“My anticipation that the bridge will be constructed sometime in mid to late next year,” said Hall.

Hall said the town still has another bridge in the process of being reconstructed. The bridge second is currently in the state’s Accelerated Bridge Program, which is focused on repairs. Hall said the repair is completely funded, and is in the design phase right now.

Daniel Monahan: dmonahan@sentineland enterprise.com

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