WORCESTER, Mass. — Although the area is in the grip of a cold snap, crews on barges adjacent to the Burns Bridge connecting Shrewsbury and Worcester via Route 9 over Lake Quinsigamond are still hard at work.
“They're cold, but it's part of the business. They dress warm and take safety precautions,” Middlesex Corp. Project Executive Robert Pine said after a meeting with the Lake Quinsigamond Watershed Association.
The year-round project is expected to be completed in 2015, but the demolition of the old bridge may be completed by the end of this year. That doesn't mean traffic will cease across Quinsigamond.
The new structure will actually be two bridges running parallel to each other with a 20-foot gap between them, Middlesex Project Manager Evan McCormick said. The eastbound bridge will be completed by the end of this year. Traffic will be rerouted across the new structure as demolition proceeds. Once the old bridge is demolished, work will begin on the new westbound bridge.
Throughout construction, the company is obligated to keep two lanes of traffic in each direction at peak traffic times, McCormick said. One passageway under the bridge will also be kept open for boaters.
“The majority of construction is done off barges in the lake,” McCormick said. “Equipment on the water will be the likes of which Lake Quinsigamond has never seen before.”
The Kenneth Burns Memorial Bridge dates to 1916. Although its deck was rehabilitated in the 1980s, the arches and piers that support the structure are original and in poor condition.
The new bridge will be wider with six lanes of traffic, plus a shoulder, wider sidewalks and bicycle access.
“We want to make sure we get the project done safely, on time, on budget, with as little disruption to the public as we can,” Pine said.