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Taunton, Bay Street Bridge, December 10, 2012MassDOT this month is completing major construction on the innovative Bay Street Bridge Project in Taunton in a partnership that will benefit commuters and the environment.

The project used accelerated bridge construction techniques to replace the structurally deficient bridge that carries Bay Street over the Mill River.  MassDOT contractors cast prefabricated bridge units made of steel and concrete and erected them by crane in just half of one day. The bridge also uses secant piles- piles that join together making a structural wall.

The new, wider bridge is located just south of Lake Sabbatia, which could provide spawning and nursing habitat for a large population of Alewives, Blueback Herring and American Eels. The aged Morey’s dam, located almost underneath the bridge, did not allow fish passage. The project replaces the dam and the new dam includes an eel ramp and fish ladder.

Taunton, Bay Street Bridge, Fish-Eel Ladder, Ramp, December 10, 2012MassDOT designed the bridge, dam, and fish ladder and eel ramp, seen at left, in partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. MassDOT’s award-winning Design Manual requires context-sensitive design on all projects. 

Brad Chase of Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries says the project “provided a unique opportunity to improve infrastructure and natural resources” and “a chance to create a large new fish population— we’re really excited.”

MassDOT District 5 staff, including Nick Adams, Eric Borman, Mike Deverix, Gary Dixon, and Mike Martin are making sure the project is built to specifications, on-time and on-budget.

Brad Chase and his colleagues at the Division of Marine Fisheries will monitor fish passage using one of the first video counting systems to be installed in Massachusetts.  A population of alewives and blueback herring could return in as little as three years following removal of downstream dams.

The bridge is expected to reopen to traffic by the end of December.

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