WORCESTER, Mass. /Massachusetts Newswire/ –Governor Deval Patrick today toured the Interstate 190 Bridge over Route 12 in Worcester to highlight the early success of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s unprecedented $3 billion, eight-year Accelerated Bridge Program (ABP) to reduce the Commonwealth’s backlog of structurally-deficient bridges. In less than two years, 13 ABP bridge projects have been completed with 62 more projects beginning or continuing this upcoming construction season, creating hundreds of engineering and construction jobs and providing long-term savings in avoided inflation and deferred maintenance costs.
“After years of neglect, this historic investment is well on its way to rebuilding hundreds of the Commonwealth’s bridges, putting people to work and delivering projects faster and more efficiently than ever before,” said Governor Patrick.
Since May 2008, the number of structurally deficient bridges targeted by ABP has dropped more than 9%, down 49 bridges, from 543 to 494. At least 200 bridge projects will be completed during the eight-year program. The total value of ABP projects advertised to date exceeds $472 million.
“Though our administration inherited hundreds of structurally deficient bridges, we have and will continue to make significant investments to repair these bridges through the successful implementation of our Accelerated Bridge Program,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. “By strategically investing in our infrastructure, we will not only improve the safety for our residents, but will also create immediate and needed jobs across the state.”
The I – 190 project in Worcester is repairing a structurally-deficient bridge carrying a heavily-traveled Interstate highway over Route 12 near the Greendale Mall in Worcester. The bridge is currently under construction as part of a $3.6 million contract to repair structurally deficient bridges in the Worcester region and will be removed from the structurally-deficient bridge list when completed.
“This bridge is a key transportation link and exchange, and is in dire need of these improvements. This project is a perfect example of targeted funding that has a wider impact for commuters from around the region,” said Senator Harriette Chandler.
“This project will enhance safety and provide the local and regional motorists traveling over this bridge way with assurance they expect and deserve. Investing in our state bridges will have a positive long-term impact on the Commonwealth and the interstate safety of our nation at large,” said Representative Jim O’Day.
“As a legislator for the city of Worcester, anything we can do to repair these deficient bridges is important for the public safety of people who use these passageways,” said Representative John Binienda.
“This is another example of the administration ensuring that local people have the opportunity to work on local projects,” said Representative Vincent Pedone.
In Central Massachusetts alone, the ABP Substructure Repair contracts total $11.2 million and have already removed 16 bridges from the structurally deficient list with repairs made to another 14 bridges, preventing those bridges from deteriorating and being added to the list. Work is also underway at three locations along the I-495 corridor where repairs will prevent a total of 6 bridges from becoming structurally-deficient. In total for the Central Massachusetts region alone, 18 bridges will be removed from the deficient list with another 20 repaired before they are added.
“We are putting people to work making our roads and bridges safer for drivers and residents in every corner of the Commonwealth,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Jeffrey Mullan. “Our team of dedicated employees is using innovative techniques and technologies to finish bridge repair and rehabilitation projects more efficiently than in the past.”
“Our MassDOT team is focused on improving safety by repairing our state’s structurally deficient bridges using cutting-edge innovation,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Luisa Paiewonsky. “Our goal is to complete work and re-open the bridges as quickly as possible for drivers and neighboring residents.”
When taken together with the overall Massachusetts road and bridge program, the Commonwealth’s investment has more than doubled from $515 million in fiscal 2007 to a projected $1.085 billion in the current fiscal year. These record levels of investment are making much needed repairs while supporting jobs today and boosting long-term economic growth.
In addition, MassDOT is delivering more projects than ever on time and on budget. Under Governor Patrick’s leadership, MassDOT has reduced the time for construction contract advertisement to construction start from 218 days in 2008 to 124 days in 2009. Innovative construction techniques such as design-build and precast construction are delivering projects quicker and with less disruption to the community.
A total of 543 MassHighway and DCR bridges were structurally deficient when the Patrick-Murray Administration developed the Accelerated Bridge Program. Without the funding provided by ABP, that number would have increased to nearly 700 structurally deficient bridges by 2016. ABP will instead reduce the number of structurally-deficient bridges to approximately 450. The program will create thousands of engineering and construction jobs and provide long-term savings in avoided inflation and deferred maintenance costs.
The Patrick-Murray Administration provides the latest information on project progress on the interactive ABP website, www.mass.gov/acceleratedbridges.
The ABP Oversight Council established by legislation includes representatives from the MassDOT Highway Division and DCR and is required to establish project criteria, approve projects, monitor progress and report regularly to the Legislature.
The program is financed using $1.1 billion in grant anticipation notes, which borrow against anticipated future federal funding, and $1.9 billion in gas tax bonds to be repaid with existing gas tax revenues.
For transportation news and updates visit the MassDOT blog at www.mass.gov/blog/transportation or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.