WILMINGTON, MA — Four years after initiating the process, the Butters Row Bridge replacement project is picking up steam.
The project has entered the 25% design phase, Town Manager Jeff Hull announced to the Board of Selectmen last week. Green International, the firm working on the design of the bridge, recently submitting plans to town officials for comment.
The Butters Row Bridge connects Chestnut Street to Main Street (Route 38). Built in 1920 and reconstructed in 1987, the bridge leads traffic over the MBTA Commuter Rail tracks and is owned and maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).
The current bridge has “a lot of issues,” according to Hull. Its travel surface width is very narrow — 13.5 feet — which is wide enough for only one vehicle to pass at a time, despite traffic being permitted to cross in both directions. Pedestrian safety is low due to a lack of sidewalks. Weight restrictions prevents fire engines from utilizing it. The structure has been struck numerous times over the years by Commuter Rail trains, resulting in damage, repairs, temporary closures, and detours.
The new bridge — a full replacement — will be a two-lane bridge with sidewalks.
The bridge was recently closed for several days so Green International could drill exploratory borings on each side of the bridge as part of their efforts.
Green International is the same firm that designed the Yentile Farm Recreational Facility, located across from the Butters Row Bridge. The firm received an Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (ACEC/MA) for their work on that project.
Town Engineer Paul Alunni, Public Works Director Mike Woods, and other town officials will offer questions and comments to Green International during the current 30-day comment period.
The $5.1 million bridge replacement is expected to be funded in Federal Fiscal Year 2022 (October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022). $4.145,190.40 of the funds will come from the federal government, with the remaining $1,036,27.70 coming from the state.
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