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Route 10 bridge over Manhan River set to close June 3

  • With the help of a pair of Hallamore 275-ton cranes, workers from Northern Construction match up two pieces of a four-section pedestrian bridge that was bolted together and placed over the Manhan River in Easthampton on Monday. The walkway, which had arrived in four pieces, was assembled here on the deck of the existing Northampton Street (Route 10) bridge and then lifted over utility lines and installed a few feet to the west of the existing span on temporary abutments. The Northampton Street bridge is expected to be closed for six months.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    With the help of a pair of Hallamore 275-ton cranes, workers from Northern Construction match up two pieces of a four-section pedestrian bridge that was bolted together and placed over the Manhan River in Easthampton on Monday. The walkway, which had arrived in four pieces, was assembled here on the deck of the existing Northampton Street (Route 10) bridge and then lifted over utility lines and installed a few feet to the west of the existing span on temporary abutments. The Northampton Street bridge is expected to be closed for six months.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>KEVIN GUTTING


    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • With the help of a pair of Hallamore 275-ton cranes, workers from Northern Construction match up two pieces of a four-section pedestrian bridge that was bolted together and placed over the Manhan River in Easthampton on Monday. The walkway, which had arrived in four pieces, was assembled here on the deck of the existing Northampton Street (Route 10) bridge and then lifted over utility lines and installed a few feet to the west of the existing span on temporary abutments. The Northampton Street bridge is expected to be closed for six months.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • <br/>KEVIN GUTTING

“It is not final yet,” said Sara Lavoie, press secretary for MassDOT. “We should know a firm date in the coming days.”

The bridge, deemed structurally deficient, carries about 22,000 vehicles a day, according a MassDOT traffic study. It is being replaced at a cost of $3.75 million as part of the state’s Accelerated Bridge Program.

Over the last six months, city residents, business owners and commuters who use the bridge, located just North of the downtown rotary, have had a taste of the inconvenience they will face when the major route is closed. The bridge was reduced to one lane numerous times as Northern Construction Service and utility companies have worked on or around the bridge. It was completely closed on May 1 from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. while a temporary pedestrian bridge was installed at the site.

Elsewhere around the city, Northern Construction workers have also been installing traffic lights and doing other work at intersections that will be part of detours when the bridge closes. The official detour is on Pleasant, Lovefield and O’Neill streets, but drivers can also bypass the whole downtown by taking West and Glendale streets.

Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce President Patrick Brough said businesses located near the bridge have already been feeling the effects of the bridge work.

He said Stan Paulauskas, the owner of Burger King on Northampton Street, told him he’s noticed a drop in business even on days traffic is reduced to one lane. “Stan indicated that Burger King anticipates anywhere in 20 to 30 percent drop in business when the bridge does close,” said Brough.

The chamber has been trying to keep the public and business owners affected by the closure informed with email newsletters and text alerts about construction and any traffic delays. It is also working on a campaign to promote businesses that will be bypassed by the detours.

“The chamber worked with MassDOT to have at least two additional signs installed that will point out to drivers that while the bridge is closed, the businesses are still in fact open,” Brough said. “It simply may just make take you a couple of extra minutes to get there.”

The contract for the bridge replacement states that Northern Construction will be fined $3,350 for every day over six months that the bridge is closed or rewarded with a $3,350 bonus for each day it is open ahead of schedule. By that schedule, it should reopen by Dec. 3.

For information on the project or to sign up for emails or alerts, visit the chamber’s website at www.easthamptonchamber.org.

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

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