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May 29, 2013

Salem tackles major bridge, road projects

Salem rebuilds bridges, roads this summer

SALEM — It’s only two days after Memorial Day, but the summer construction season is in full swing.

The town is tackling a full list of significant bridge and road projects that will keep contractors busy well into fall, according to Town Manager Keith Hickey.

While work to reconstruct 5,560 square feet of Pond Street began a month ago, the Bluff Street bridge replacement project only started a week ago. Other projects will not begin for several weeks, Hickey said, but he’s pleased with the progress so far.

“Things are plugging along,” Hickey said.

The projects include the summerlong replacement of two red-listed bridges and the reconstruction of several roads.

Red-listed bridges are those the state Department of Transportation has determined are a safety risk and in urgent need of repair.

Replacement of the two bridges on Bluff Street and Providence Hill Road — a $1.1 million project — is critical, but it will mean closing roads and detouring traffic, Hickey said.

“For some people, it will be a little inconvenient,” he said.

Town engineering director Robert Puff announced two weeks ago the Bluff Street bridge project over Hittytity Brook would last until at least late August.

Bluff Street is closed to through traffic between Scotland Avenue and the intersection of Millville Street and Zion Hill Road.

Yesterday, workers from Thibeault Corp. of New England, based in Londonderry, put up silt fences as they prepared for replacement of the bridge.

Construction on the Providence Hill Road bridge won’t start until June, Hickey said. That work is being done by Busby Construction.

The two structures are among five red-listed bridges the town will replace in the next three years, he said.

Next year, deteriorating bridges will be replaced on Town Farm and Shannon roads. In 2015, the Bluff Street Extension bridge will be replaced, along with a culvert on Teague Drive, where one of two lanes of the residential road has been closed for the last year.

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