Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today broke ground on the Kenneth F. Burns Memorial Bridge in Worcester, the first of five mega-projects in the Patrick-Murray Administration's Accelerated Bridge Program. As part of the Accelerated Bridge Program, the $89.9 million Burns Bridge replacement project will widen the bridge from two to three travel lanes in each direction and include accessible sidewalks and dedicated bicycle lanes on both sides of the bridge. Federal funds will account for 80 percent of the project's total cost.
"I thank President Obama and his Administration for understanding the economic impact of investing in our infrastructure," said Governor Deval Patrick. "By investing in our future and putting people back to work, our Accelerated Bridge Program is helping Massachusetts lead the nation in economic growth."
"The Accelerated Bridge Program is extremely effective at rapidly rebuilding deficient bridges in our cities and towns," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "By partnering with state, local and federal officials, we are moving forward to replace the Burns Bridge, a bridge heavily used by commuters traveling in and out of Worcester. In doing so, we will are also creating jobs and boosting our local economy."
Built in 1916, the existing bridge, which carries 53,000 vehicles daily, is considered structurally deficient. The existing bridge will be replaced with a new widened five-span steel deck arch structure. The new bridge will provide three travel lanes in both directions with exclusive left- and right-turn lanes on the westbound approach into Worcester. This will accommodate projected increases in traffic volumes, improve safety at the intersection of Route 9 and Lake Avenue and remove the need for eastbound motorists to make a U-turn on Lake Avenue North to access destinations on Lake Avenue South. The replacement project will be constructed by Middlesex Corporation.
"With local budgets across the state squeezed dry, this is a critical investment for Worcester that will help to upgrade old, crumbling infrastructure, keep commuters safe on the road, and create jobs in the process," said U.S. Senator John Kerry. "I'm grateful to Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray for really leaning in and getting these projects done."
"This bridge will be more than a link between Shrewsbury and Worcester, it will serve as a gateway to vital business districts; to a major regional medical and biotech hub; and to one of our region's great natural resources in lake Quinsigamond," said U.S. Congressman James McGovern.
"Our first responsibility as stewards of the Commonwealth's transportation assets is to ensure that residents and visitors are safe traveling on our roads and bridges," said Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Richard A. Davey. "The Accelerated Bridge Program allows us to make the necessary improvements and repairs like these today that will keep people safe and encourage economic growth across Massachusetts."
The design seeks to create a new bridge that will accommodate all users while minimizing impacts to the intersections or the homes and business on either side of the bridge adjacent to the state highway layout line in Worcester and Shrewsbury. The proposed roadway profile will be raised in order to provide improved vertical under-clearance for recreational users of the lake. Bicycle lanes on the bridge and sidewalks will be provided in both directions. Work will also be undertaken on Lake Avenue to the north and south of Route 9 to improve bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.
"This project signals not only the successful collaboration of agencies at the federal, state and local levels, but also the rebirth of an important economic development, transportation and public safety resource for the entire area," said Senator Michael Moore.
"I am looking forward to the completion of a beautiful bridge in Central Massachusetts," said Representative John Binienda.
The Patrick-Murray Administration's Accelerated Bridge Program is an unprecedented 8-year, $3 billion investment in the Commonwealth's bridges, which will dramatically reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges in Massachusetts. Since 2008, the Accelerated Bridge Program has created or sustained 15,404 direct construction jobs and approximately 38,000 indirect jobs.