Mass Highway Has $589-Million Construction Program

By Paul Fournier | September 28, 2010

The Massachusetts Highway Department (MassHighway) will advertise transportation construction projects worth an estimated $589 million this year, while legislation has been filed for a $2.9-billion bond to secure funds for future transportation projects.

Bridge construction dominates the proposed work. Of the 75 projects in the 2008 Massachusetts transportation advertising program, 26 are bridge construction projects worth more than $355 million, or roughly 60 percent of the total. This includes 19 bridge replacements with total estimated costs of $243 million, and seven bridge rehab projects with total estimated costs of $112 million.

Three of the bridge projects dwarf the others, having combined estimates of $204 million, or 57 percent of the total to be spent on bridges. They are: the $92-million replacement for the Route 128 bridge in Dedham and Needham; the $64-million replacement for the Merrimack River bridge between Groveland and Haverhill; and the $48-million rehab of the Connecticut River bridge between Gill and Montague. (See accompanying chart for complete project listing.)

In related news, a three-year, $2.9-billion transportation bond bill designed to improve the commonwealth's network of roads, bridges and mass transit has been filed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. This legislation, which could leverage additional federal funds for a total investment of $4.8 billion, is expected to encourage economic development and generate some 10,000 construction jobs.

Cities and towns could be helped by the authorization of $500 million to fund so-called Chapter 90 grants for improvements to local roads and bridges, and an additional $50 million for public works grants (PWED) for economic development.

The bill also includes $15 million for "STRAP" grants — transportation-related grants to communities with small populations — and extends eligibility to communities with as few as 3,500 residents.

Another state program, designed to promote transit-oriented development (TOD), will receive a boost of $20 million under the proposal. Economic development will also get a shot in the arm with $25 million for investments in regional transit authorities, mobility assistance programs, intermodal transportation improvements and water transportation, and $40 million for improvements at regional airports.

The lion's share of the proposed funding — $1.3 billion — is earmarked for the statewide road and bridge program. But transit improvements funding is also significant, with $700 million allotted to the Fairmount commuter rail, the Green Line transit extension to Somerville and Medford, design and engineering for a Red Line-Blue Line transit connector between Boston's Government Center and the Charles River/Mass. General Hospital Stations, and the creation of new commuter parking spaces at transit nodes.

Additionally, the bill proposes $100 million for rail and mass transit planning projects, among them the South Coast Rail extension to Fall River and New Bedford, the Urban Ring project and the Blue Line extension to Lynn. Also included is $75 million for the state's share of the Fitchburg Commuter Rail project to heighten safety and reduce commuting times.

Location Description Adv. Date Est. Cost
Northampton Norwottuck Rail-Trail Extension 1/5/2008 $1,856,770
Leominster Replace bridge over N. Nashua 1/12/08 5,757,923
Pittsfield Replace bridge over Housatonic 1/12/08 3,272,969
Pittsfield Reconstruct Route 7, Union St. 1/12/08 1,575,240
Edgartown/Oak Bl Replace bridge over Sengekontacket 1/19/08 15,240,000
Taunton Bridge rehab over Three Mile River 1/26/08 2,650,200
Fairhaven Reconstruct Howland Rd. 2/2/08 3,762,990
North Adams Reservoir road improvements 2/2/08 1,394,850
Princeton Replace bridge over Wachusett Br. 2/2/08 1,585,956
Chester Replace bridge over Westfield Rvr. 2/9/08 2,804,394
Newton/Watertown Reconstruct Pleasant/Howard Sts. 2/9/08 8,959,520
Worcester Signal/intersection improvements 2/9/08 1,972,140
Lynnfield/Peabody Resurfacing on I-95 2/16/08 8,000,000
Raynham Signal improve. Rt. 138/Rt. I-495 1/26/08 1,535,698
Yarmouth Ped./site improvements on Rte. 28 216/08 589,125
Shrewsbury Reconstruct Rt. 140 3/1/08 7,300,000
Townsend Replace bridge over Pearl Hill Br. 3/1/08 929,892
Boston Reconstruct Mass. Ave. 3/8/08 11,387,248
Lawrence Bridge rehab. over Merrimack 3/8/08 13,619,417
North Adams Bridge rehab over B&M RR/Hoosic 3/15/08 20,637,808
Bolton/Boxb/Harv. Interstate resurfacing on I-405 3/22/08 14,750,000
Chicopee/Spfld. Interstate resurfacing on I-91 3/22/08 19,000,000
Cohas/Hing/Hull Culvert replacement over Straits 4/5/08 2,725,800
Egremont Replace bridge over Karner Brook 5/3/08 3,540,831
Holyoke Replace bridge over Second Level 5/3/08 5,953,930
Ipswich Replace bridge over MBTA/B&M 6/7/08 8,606,761
Leverett Bridge rehab, Rte. 63 6/7/08 7,520,000
Lowell Replace bridge over B&M RR 6/7/08 3,110,385
Spencer Reconstruct Route 31 6/7/08 2,289,137
Pittsfield Sig./intersect improve. Rte. 7 7/5/08 1,643,940
Concord Reconstruct Route 62 8/2/08 2,328,430
Middleboro Sig./intersect improve. Rte. 44 8/2/08 3,500,000
Gill/Montague Bridge rehab over Conn. River 8/9/08 48,121,500
Westminster Replace bridge over Round Meadow 8/9008 1,902,176
Ashfield Replace retain. wall on Rte. 116 9/6/08 3,200,000
Beck./Chest/Middle Keystone arch bridge over Westfld. 9/6/08 1,348,444
Brockton Reconst. Rte. 27 9/6/08 4,686,129
Camb/Somer/Bel Construct bikeway at Alewife 9/6/08 5,200,000
Dedham/Needham Replace bridge on Rte. 128 9/6/08 $92,000,000
Essex Reconstruct Rte. 133 9/6/08 6,166,644
Fall Rvr./Freetown Interchange const. on Rte. 24 9/6/08 6,180,000
Lanesborough Improve intersection at Rte. 8 9/6/08 742,890
Long./Bernardston Traffic mgmt. sys. on I-91 Corr. 9/6/08 25,000,000
Tyngsborough Bridge rehab over Merrimack Rvr. 9/6/08 18,040,626
Webster Inter/Signal improve. on Rte. 12 9/6/08 2,660,172
Worcester Reconstruct Blackstone Rvr. Rd. 9/6/08 4,000,000
Bed/Bill/Burlington Middlesex Tpke. Extension 9/30/08 12,204,290
Falmouth Reconstruct Rte. 28 9/30/08 1,965,420
Fitchburg Inters. improve., John Fitch Hwy. 9/30/08 1,177,501
Holliston Multi-use trail construction 9/30/08 1,815,340
Holyoke Canal walk construction 9/30/08 1,237,918
Hubbardston Reconstruct Rte. 62 9/30/08 2,900,000
Nantucket Bike/ped. path construction 9/30/08 420,820
Springfield Replace bridge over Conrail Spur 9/30/08 11,050,000
West/Dartmouth Interstate resurfacing on I-195 9/30/08 12,000,000
Dighton/Taunton Replace bridge over Three Mile 10/1/08 1,512,576
Lynn/Saugus Replace bridge over Saugus River 10/1/08 13,600,000
Westminster Replace bridge over Phillips Brook 10/1/08 1,720,000
Chester/Huntington Resurfacing/related work on Rte. 20 10/2/08 5,915,448
Ludlow Sig./intersect improve. East St. 10/2/08 580,000
Florida Reconstruct River Rd. 10/18/08 6,100,000
Holyoke Resurfacing/related work on I-91 10/25/08 6,500,000
Northfield Scenic byway const. on Rte. 10/63 11/1/08 1,140,000
Worcester Reconstruct Rte. 70 11/1/08 2,698,670
Milford Upper Charles Trail construction 11/8/08 4,100,000
Salem Reconstruct Rte. 1A 11/8/08 6,600,000
Southbr/Sturbridge Resurfacing/related work on Rt. 131 11/8/08 4,440,000
Middleborough Sig./intersect improve. Rte. 105 11/15/08 850,000
New Bedford Reconstruct Hawthorne St. Corridor 11/15/08 1,875,000
Dart./New Bedford Sig./intersect improve. Dart. St. 11/22/08 3,004,160
Grove/Haverhill Replace bridge over Merrimack 12/6/08 63,943,980
Haverhill Replace bridge over B&M RR 12/6/08 4,828,604
Mansfield Signal improvements on Rte. 106 12/6/08 500,000
Framingham Replace bridge over Sudbury River 12/20/08 1,800,000
Greenfield Sig./intersect improvements 12/20/08 3,200,000
Total $588,729,662