Lower County Road Bridge updates

(5/6/02)Conversations between resident Frank and Paul Burns MHD relative to the Lower County Road Bridge Project.

Paul Burns – Mass Highway Dept

Construction Start Date
He does not know for certain about the start date for the project but thinks a decision will be made later this week between the Contractor and Mass Hwy Dept whether to proceed or delay until after Labor Day. He asked my opinion and I told him I thought it would make life much easier for all not to direct all the summer traffic on to Rt 28. If I am not mistaken there is a project to resurface Rt. 28 and do extensive storm drain work starting this summer. If that is true, we surely don’t need the bridge closed as well.

Piling Replacement
On the subject of the pilings, he did confirm that the subject was revisited and again he does not know for certain but is 99% sure that the existing piling platform will be reused. He also expects that to be confirmed later this week.

Navigation Issues
On the subject of navigation of the river during construction, he advised that navigation must be maintained according to Coast Guard regulations. I did not think to ask how this would be provided for but I would like to see the details to be reassured there will be no restriction of boat movement.

Various Construction issues
During our meeting with Joe Borgesi last year there were any number of issues brought up regarding safety and access to the bridge. I asked specifically about the subject of cutting off the threaded rods flush with the pilings at the bays that are used for boat transit. He had no knowledge of any of that but agreed that it would be easy enough to do without any cost impact. He suggested that I get a copy of Joe’s notes and letter of last year to Bernard McCourt, the District 5 Superintendent in Taunton. He agreed that that letter should come from either the Town Engineer or Town Highway Department and not just private citizen. I immediately called Joe and asked him to get a copy of the letter to me ASAP.

Jacob Tanotle Weston & Sampson Engineers
Paul Levy had Jacob return my call. I placed the same comments with him and basically he told me that they had been asked to revisit the piling issue and gave Mass Hwy the same answer that the pilings are in good shape. His understanding is that Mass Hwy will remove the decking and inspect the pilings again. They will then make a judgment to either reuse them or replace them. I asked him if they decided to replace them would we have an opportunity to widen the horizontal dimension of one or more of the bays used by boats. Since it would require reengineering for the piling work, he indicated that the bay widening could be considered at that time without cost impact. He suggested that we be on record with Mass Hwy with that request as well as the other items mentioned in our meeting of last year with Joe Borgesi.

Notes for Town Engineer
I will have Joe send you a copy of the letter once he finds it and will print a copy of this email for him as he tells me he has no email capability. If the opportunity arises for us to widen the span of the bays, I do not want to miss the chance to improve the navigation of the bridge. We also would have the chance to add some of the fishing platforms and sidewalks safety items no included in the plan as designed.