Sometimes a bridge project fixes more than the bridge. Governor Patrick's Accelerated Bridge Program is putting the finishing touches on a bridge project which has restored use of McNerney Road in Becket for travelers and Shaker Mill Brook for wildlife.
Nestled in the scenic Berkshires, Shaker Mill Brook once passed under McNerney Road via a corrugated steel pipe culvert which did not provide ideal stream characteristics for the area’s cold water fish. When MassDOT replaced the bridge, where there was once a large metal pipe there are now round stones of all sizes and the riffle, plunge pools and natural substrate that native cold-water fish need to survive and thrive. A variety of native plants dot the embankments of the bridge, softening the transition to the banks of the brook. Wildlife such as trout, turtles, wood ducks, otter, and mink can now pass freely underneath McNerney Road.
The Accelerated Bridge project of course also reopened the road to its wheeled and two-legged users as well- weeks earlier than planned. The deteriorated bridge had been closed, and the project used a prefabricated bridge to accelerate construction— the bridge was built in just one construction season and the road reopened 30 days ahead of schedule. Thanks to great coordination between MassDOT, TEC, David G. Roach & Sons, the National Parks Service and the Army Corps of Engineers, the project is a great success.
Visit MassDOT on Flickr for more photos of the project.