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Fall River Route 79 I-195 MapThe MassDOT Board of Directors today voted to move forward with the $197 million Fall River Route 79/I-195 Interchange Project, the final of five Mega Projects in the Patrick Administration’s historic Accelerated Bridge Program.  The Fall River project improves safety and removes an elevated structure that has been long seen as a barrier to waterfront development.

“After years of neglect, the Accelerated Bridge Program has allowed us to dramatically improve our bridge infrastructure and stimulate economic growth all over Massachusetts,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “The Accelerated Bridge Program is a key part of our growth strategy that is creating jobs today while leaving a stronger Commonwealth for the next generation.”

The Fall River Interchange Improvement Project is one of five Mega Projects accounting for approximately one-third of the total $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program investment in Commonwealth bridges.

The five Mega Projects are:

Burns Bridge Replacement- $89 million
Fall River Interchange Improvement Project- $197 million
Fore River Bridge Replacement-$245 million
Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation- $255 million
Whittier Bridge Replacement- $292 million

Both the Burns Bridge and Fore River projects are currently under construction. Construction is scheduled to begin in July on the Longfellow and Whittier Bridges.

In Fall River, Milliken Boulevard is currently under construction to better accommodate traffic during this interchange improvement project. The remaining structural repairs and the painting to the Braga Bridge are included in the $197 million project. The project website will be updated regularly with construction news and roadway impacts: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/abp/projects/Rte79I195.aspx

Since 2008, the number of structurally deficient bridges has dropped from 543 to 436, a decline of 19.7 percent. As of January 1, 2013 the ABP Program has completed 121 bridge projects, with another 48 bridge projects currently in construction and an additional 20 bridge projects scheduled to start construction within the next year. Over the course of the eight year program, well over 200 bridges are planned to be replaced or repaired.

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