The way the project was designed, all highway traffic will be able to flow normally during the construction of the first bridge, and then will be diverted to the first new bridge once the original is torn down. This will allow for minimal traffic disruptions and avoid painful detours through the back roads of Newburyport and Amesbury.
“We’re mindful of the impacts that any serious lane restrictions would have,” Verseckes said. “We want to do our best to keep traffic on the Whittier Bridge or I-95 so it’s not spilling out onto local roads.”
The overall scope of the project encompasses the entire stretch of I-95 from exit 57 to exit 60 and will include the rehabilitation of other bridges, the widening of the highway and the improvement of deceleration lanes along that stretch.
This week, contractors will be installing erosion controls throughout the project area, laying out and cutting pavement for the traffic barrier line on the highway at the northern end of the project area, preparing a staging area on Spring Lane and mobilizing equipment for the construction of the bridge’s northern pier on the Amesbury side of the river.
Next week, workers will begin removing trees and shrubs in the right-of-way, continue saw cutting for the traffic barrier and then begin installing the northern pier’s cofferdams. Finally, the week of July 22, workers will start installing temporary traffic barriers on the highway at the northern end of the project area.
Once major construction begins later this summer, Verseckes said the project should be able to proceed with minimal traffic disruptions, but added that there will undoubtedly be future lane closures throughout the project’s duration when the situation demands it.