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Closed since June, Manhan Bridge in Easthampton ready to reopen Thursday

GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Michael Aubrey, 3 of Easthampton, sits with his grandfather and watches as employees of Northern Construction work on the Manhan Bridge project. The bridge will reopen today (Oct. 24, 2013) at 3:30 p.m.
CAROL LOLLIS

GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Michael Aubrey, 3 of Easthampton, sits with his grandfather and watches as employees of Northern Construction work on the Manhan Bridge project. The bridge will reopen today (Oct. 24, 2013) at 3:30 p.m. CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »

EASTHAMPTON — Motorists and business owners in the city have a good reason to celebrate Thursday as the Route 10 bridge over the Manhan River is scheduled to reopen at 3:30 p.m., five weeks ahead of schedule.

The state Department of Transportation, which is paying for the $3.75 million project, originally said the bridge would be closed for six months from June 3 to Dec. 3. But workers from Northern Construction of Weymouth worked 10-hour days and six days a week to finish ahead of schedule, eying a $100,000 bonus the company would receive if it completed the work in only five months.

“Using accelerated construction techniques and extended work hours, MassDOT and its contractor are pleased to open the bridge to vehicles approximately five weeks ahead of schedule,” Sara Lavoie, a MassDOT spokeswoman, said in a statement.

“We’re very excited the state was able to do the project so effectively and on such a great timeline,” said Mayor Michael A. Tautznik. “MassDOT really bent over backwards to address our concerns” and accelerated the work. “There’s really nothing negative to say about the whole thing.”

The 62-year-old bridge was replaced because inspectors deemed it structurally deficient. It was part of the state’s Accelerated Bridge Program, which uses materials that were constructed off site to shorten the amount of time a bridge must be closed.

The bridge closure was a headache for drivers who were detoured onto Pleasant, Lovefield and O’Neill streets — or used an unofficial detour on West Street — to bypass the span. MassDOT estimated that 22,000 vehicles per day traveled the route.

Many businesses along the bypassed section of Route 10, also called Northampton Street, lost revenue because of the detours.

MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola will visit the completed bridge at 10 a.m. Monday to view the project and discuss the finishing touches that still need to be completed, Lavoie said.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

It's a happy day;I live on Pleasant St. and it seems most of the 22,000 vehicles have been driving by my driveway. Great job in finishing the project early.

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