Mass. town receives $13.4 million federal grant for improvements to 6 bridges

Updated Sep 22, 2016

road work cones constructionSix bridges in Lowell, Massachusetts, are slated for improvements beginning in 2017 and finishing up in the fall of 2022, The Lowell Sun reports.

The city received a $13.4 million federal grant in October 2015 to pay for a majority of the repairs or replacement of eight bridges, including a bridge that carries Kearney Square over the Eastern Canal that was repaired in 2014, and a bridge that carries Broadway Street over the Pawtucket Canal that will be completed this year.

According to the news agency, the city spread out repairs so that the work doesn’t all happen at once, in order to minimize problems for drivers

The bridges and their planned improvements include the following:

  • Central Street over the Lower Pawtucket Canal: The bridge, which was built in 1835, will be renovated.
  • Merrimack Street over the Merrimack Canal: The bridge, which was built in 1831 and rebuilt in 1938, will be renovated.
  • Merrimack Street over the Western Canal: The bridge, which was built in 1831, will be renovated.
  • Pawtucket Street over the Northern Canal: The bridge, which was built in 1849 and is a vital pedestrian link for UMass Lowell students, will be completely rebuilt.
  • Pawtucket Street over the Pawtucket Canal: The bridge, which was originally built in the 1790s and rebuilt four times since then, will be completely rebuilt.
  • Suffolk Street over the Northern Canal: The bridge, which was built in 1848 and underwent repairs in 2015, will have its superstructure replaced.

City Manager Kevin Murphy lauded the city and UMass Lowell’s ability to win federal funding in a very competitive program. “I really think this is the most progressive initiative any city in the commonwealth has undertaken in recent memory,” City Manager Kevin Murphy told the news agency, explaining that the city taking ownership of the bridges from Enel Green Power, the electric company, made it possible to get the grant for help with repairs.

UMass Lowell agreed to pitch in another $2 million for the repairs, since it relies on the bridges for its students, staff and buses to move from one campus to the next. The city is left with an expected share of only $600,000, but will be responsible for upkeep and any needed repairs in the future.