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Whittier New Bridge DesignMassDOT this week will begin preparations for the demolition and reconstruction of the Pine Hill Road/Ferry Road bridge over Interstate 95 in Newburyport.

MassDOT’s contractor for the Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement Project, Walsh-McCourt JV, will install temporary traffic signals at either end of the bridge that will be used for traffic management during the work. The signals will be programmed to flash for a period of time prior to the start of construction to allow drivers time to acclimate themselves to the upcoming change. Also prior to the start of construction, National Grid will install a temporary gas main to maintain service during construction, and police details will be present during the work. The preparatory work will take place during daytime hours.

Once National Grid completes the temporary gas main installation, Walsh-McCourt JV, will program the signals to be fully functioning, install a barrier between the two lanes on the bridge and begin demolition of the south side. Once the barrier is installed and the traffic signals are functioning, travel across the bridge will be limited to one, alternating lane controlled by the signals. This traffic pattern will remain in place throughout demolition and reconstruction work. Bicycle and pedestrian access across the bridge will also be maintained. The contractor anticipates the demolition work will begin in three to four weeks, depending on National Grid’s progress. Additional updates will be provided prior to the start of demolition and as necessary. 

The work is subject to cancellation without notice due to inclement weather.

MassDOT encourages drivers to avoid the area and seek alternate routes to minimize delays.  Those traveling through the area should expect delays and should reduce speed and use caution while traveling along the detour routes. 

The $292 million project is one of five “mega” projects in the historic Accelerated Bridge Program to repair or replace structurally deficient bridges. The design-build project will replace the existing six-lane bridge over the Merrimack River, built in 1951, with a new structure that includes eight vehicle lanes and a shared use path for bicycle and pedestrian use.

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