hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

News

August 1, 2013

2 bridges almost ready for traffic

One gets repairs, while new span almost complete

It’s a tale of two bridges — and the latest chapter is almost complete.

These city spans being worked on by the state are in the final stages and will be open to traffic soon:

The Groveland Bridge that crosses the Merrimack River and connects Haverhill to Groveland

The Rocks Village Bridge, an historic span which is used by residents of Haverhill, West Newbury, Merrimac and several southern New Hampshire towns.

The new, $50 million Groveland Bridge is scheduled to open early next year, according to state Rep. Lenny Mirra, R-West Newbury. Mirra said he receives regular updates on both bridge projects from state transportation officials.

Mirra, who represents two voting precincts in Haverhill, noted what anyone who has seen the Groveland Bridge recently has no doubt noticed — that “it looks great and appears to be just about done.”

The new span will replace the old one, which has remained open during construction of the new bridge. The old one will be dismantled and hauled away by the contractor, Mirra said.

“It looks like it’s just about ready,” Mirra said, adding the project is 86 percent complete. “But they are still working on the approaches leading up the bridge on both sides, and they are doing some electrical work.”

The Rocks Village Bridge is even closer to completion. State officials plan to reopen the span Sept. 29, Mirra said.

That bridge, which is being rehabilitated for a little more than $13 million, was originally expected to reopen next month. The delay is related to unexpected problems with the “track chair” mechanics that open the span for boats to pass underneath. The track chair is essentially a cast iron ring upon which sits a variety of equipment and which is designed to support the swing span, which is the bridge’s removable center section.

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