By Mike LaBella
---- — HAVERHILL — Work to another Haverhill Bridge is about to end, allowing drivers to use it after two years of construction.
The Ferry Road Bridge in Ward Hill is about to reopen.
Officials with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation said that tomorrow at 7 a.m., work crews will begin to reopen the bridge, which crosses over the B&M and MBTA railroad line, just west of Route 125.
The bridge was closed on Sept. 12, 2011, to allow work crews to rebuild it.
Two other Haverhill bridges also recently opened. The new Congressman William H. Bates Bridge opened Sept. 20 to the relief of drivers. The 775-foot span cost $49.7 million to build and replaced the old Bates Bridge, commonly referred to as the Groveland Bridge, which was deteriorating. The new bridge links Haverhill and Groveland over the Merrimack River.
About two weeks after the Groveland Bridge opened, the state reopened the historic Rocks Village Bridge, which spans the river between Haverhill and West Newbury. The bridge had been closed to traffic since June 18, 2012, to allow $14.1 million in renovations. The span was originally expected to reopen in late August, but workers ran into unexpected problems this summer with the mechanism that opens the bridge for boats to pass underneath.
Earlier this month, MassDOT spokesman Michael Verseckes said the original completion date for the Ferry Road Bridge was April of this year, but during construction, the contractor encountered some subsurface conditions that differed from what was expected. Verseckes said there were also some unforeseen utility relocations. He said both of those issues accounted for the additional time required to complete the project.
Residents who live in that section of Ward Hill and have had to use detours can now use their old route and cross a safer, more sturdy bridge than the old wooden bridge it replaced.
Drivers will also get a smoother ride as they approach the bridge. Officials said 425 feet of the westerly approach roadway and 300 feet of the easterly approach of roadway, as well as 225 feet of South Riverview Street, were also rebuilt.
The $4.3 million dollar Ferry Road Bridge project was paid for by the Federal Highway Administration’s Bridge Replacement Program.
MassDOT officials said they appreciate the patience that drivers, neighbors and those affected by the detour route have shown during the project.
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