EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 9, 2010

Hampshire Street bridge in Lawrence opens today

By Brian Messenger

LAWRENCE — The Hampshire Street bridge over the Spicket River reopens today after $2.1 million in repairs were made to the structure using federal stimulus money.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced yesterday that the repairs were completed under budget and approximately 10 months ahead of schedule.

The bridge is scheduled to reopen today at 7 a.m. The bridge was closed in late January, prompting vehicular and pedestrian detours while repair work was done.

The repairs consisted of demolishing portions of the bridge to provide room to build a new, independent structure, according to a MassDOT press release.

The bridge is near Central Catholic High School. Road and sidewalk improvements in the immediate area of the bridge also were included in the project.

The bridge project was one of just five transportation projects in the Greater Merrimack Valley to receive funding under the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The four other projects include work to double track the Haverhill commuter rail line from Lawrence to Wilmington; expand the Newburyport Park & Ride lot; upgrade Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority facilities in Haverhill; and build a new $2 million transportation center in downtown Amesbury.

Massachusetts cities and towns sent thousands of "wish list" projects to the state in early 2009, after Gov. Deval Patrick set aside $700 million for transportation stimulus.

The task of deciding which projects received stimulus money was left to the Patrick administration and the state's 13 metropolitan planning organizations, including the Merrimack Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Of the overall $787 billion federal stimulus plan, $64.1 billion was for roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects.