The Patrick-Murray Administration announced today that the Whittier Bridge Project on Interstate 95 in Salisbury, Newburyport and Amesbury will include bicycle and pedestrian access. The agreement marks the first time in the history of the Commonwealth that a bicycle/pedestrian path has been located on an interstate highway bridge.
The agreement to include a bicycle and pedestrian path was the product of a Massachusetts Department of Transportation community-based working group with members appointed by the mayors of Amesbury and Newburyport and the town administrator of Salisbury.
Improved bicycle and pedestrian access was the top priority identified by local officials and residents. As a result, MassDOT will also provide an east/west connection via the Pine Hill/Ferry Road bridge replacement project, and work with the task force on connections to Pine Hill Road, Maudsley Park and Moseley Woods. MassDOT will extend the path to Route 110, providing improved access to the nearby Ghost Trail and wider regional bicycle trail network.
MassDOT will replace the existing six-lane bridge with a new eight-lane structure. A minimum of three lanes in each direction will be maintained at all times during the peak traffic hours. The project will be designed to minimize right-of-way and environmental impacts. MassDOT is proceeding with an extensive public outreach process to ensure there are no significant impacts to navigation, land use and community resources.
The current number of highway lanes will be maintained during the peak construction hours. MassDOT will ensure that signage during construction will alert drivers that businesses remain open.
The project is scheduled for advertisement in April 2012.
The $285 million design-build project is one of the largest in Governor Patrick’s $3 billion, eight-year Accelerated Bridge Program to repair or replace structurally deficient bridges. The program has reduced the number of structurally-deficient bridges by 11 percent.