The Patrick-Murray Administration’s Whittier Bridge Project on Interstate 95 in Salisbury, Newburyport and Amesbury is among 14 infrastructure projects nationwide selected by the Obama Administration for an expedited permitting and environmental review process designed to move projects as quickly as possible from concept to construction and completion.
The estimated $285 million design-build project is one of the largest in the Patrick-Murray Administration’s historic Accelerated Bridge Program to repair or replace structurally deficient bridges.
The project will replace the existing 57-year old six-lane bridge over the Merrimack River with a new eight-lane structure that will also include bicycle and pedestrian lanes.
The Obama Administration announcement calls for accelerated permit review and approval within six months for the Whittier Bridge project. Following an extensive public outreach process, MassDOT submitted the required Environmental Assessment/Draft Environmental Impact Report to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for review in June 2011.
The expedited review process is expected to allow the project to be advertised for bid in spring 2012.
The Whittier Bridge project will also include extensive roadway widening construction. A minimum of three lanes in each direction will be maintained during the peak traffic hours. The project will be designed to minimize right-of-way and environmental impacts.