Supply chain woes delay East Street bridge project in Southampton

  • Material delays have shifted the completion date of the $2.6 million replacement East Street bridge project from midsummer to fall. The East Street bridge deck was poured at the end of June.  SOUTHAMPTON HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT

Staff Writer
Published: 7/17/2022 8:24:47 AM
Modified: 7/17/2022 8:24:21 AM

SOUTHAMPTON — Material delays have shifted the completion date of the $2.6 million replacement of the East Street bridge from midsummer to fall.

The construction firm MIG Corporation, Inc. of Acton has requested an extension due to the structural steel vendor’s inability to procure raw materials from their supplier, according to Southampton Highway Superintendent Randall Kemp.

“This was not a surprise as we had been informed by the contractor that the pervasive global supply chain issues could very well and probably would cause delays to construction,” said Kemp in an emailed response. “A date of September 30 to account for completion of all job activities including seasonal plantings was requested.”

The previous East Street bridge, which was nearly 90 years old, was demolished in December. The bridge, which crosses the Manhan River, spans a major thoroughfare that connects the center of Southampton to the city of Holyoke, extending from College Highway (Route 10) to the border of Holyoke at County Road.

The project has been in the works for years as the Select Board expressed a desire to have the bridge rebuilt in 2009. A 2018 Pavement Management Report prepared by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission also recommended a full reconstruction of East Street, identifying East Street as one of four roads in Southampton in the poorest condition.

Building the replacement bridge is the first step in the larger East Street reconstruction project, which is estimated to cost an additional $4 million more than the $2.5 million replacement bridge.

Along the way, Kemp says there have been a few unknowns presented that have led to a few change orders, or amendments made to the original contract. Oftentimes, those changes can affect a contractor’s scope of work.

In this case, Kemp said the changes that account for approximately 4% of the total cost of the $2.5 million project, some of which include the completion date extension, and adjustments to the water main due to an unmapped drainage pipe encountered during construction.

East Street improvements

While work has continued on the bridge, Kemp said that several portions of East Street that were deemed “severely degraded” were paved in April.

The town also is moving forward with a design concept for the reconstruction of approximately 1.4 miles of East Street — from the Route 10 intersection to Whispering Meadow Drive.

“Reconstruction will include engineered stormwater drainage, pedestrian-friendly accommodations and other modifications to bring the road up to current Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) construction standards and Healthy Transportation Policy necessary for the project to be eligible for funding through the state’s Transportation Improvement Program,” Kemp said.

Through discussions with the town’s design engineering firm, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin of Springfield, as well as MassDOT, the work was recommended to be performed in two phases. The design will be paid for with the state Chapter 90 funding.

“The phased approach is being recommended in order to fit the cost of the project into the Transportation Improvement Program as we are competing with all of the other cities and towns in the commonwealth for these funds and it has been suggested that limited projects around the cost of Phase 1 are more likely to be approved into a Transportation Improvement Program year than the larger 2.7-mile project of reconstructing East Street end to end as one project,” he said.

Kemp did note that there will likely be some design challenges during phase 2 as there are some very steep slopes and a stream crossing involving a 72-inch culvert that will be costly to comply with MassDOT’s standards and policies. However, he still intends to look into other funding options which will work best for Southampton.

At a tentatively scheduled Select Board meeting in August, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin is expected to discuss development of the 10% design and provide an opportunity for the public to provide feedback on the project.

Emily Thurlow can be reached at
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