Governor Deval Patrick today joined local leaders in Lowell at the I-495 Bridge Bundle project that will replace six major bridges carrying northbound and southbound traffic on I-495. The $36.8 million project is being funded by the Governor's landmark eight-year, $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program to repair deficient and obsolete bridges across the Commonwealth and is moving forward on an accelerated timeline using an innovative "design-build" streamlined construction contract process.
The "Design/Build" project initiated in fall 2009 is replacing the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 495, which carry approximately 65,000 vehicles per day in each direction. The replacement of six bridges originally built nearly 50 years ago includes two bridges that span the MBTA Lowell Commuter Rail line, two that cross Woburn Street and the remaining two that pass over the Concord River. Three lanes are operating at peak hours at all times in both directions for the duration of the project, including crossover lanes for traffic management purposes. Much of the work is being done at night to minimize inconvenience to the traveling public. Full completion of the project is scheduled for June 2011.
Additional information is available at MassDOT's Lowell Bridge Bundle website.
Since the Patrick-Murray Administration filed legislation approved by the Legislature creating the $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program (ABP) in 2008, the number of structurally deficient bridges has dropped from 543 to 494, a decline of nearly 10 percent. As a result of ABP alone, 13 bridge projects are already complete, with a total of 62 bridge projects scheduled for construction this season. Over the course of the program, at least 200 bridges will see active construction.