WEST NEWBURY — The town will host a public meeting Sept. 23 to review design alternatives and preliminary cost estimates for reconstruction of the Middle Street bridge.

The session, organized with the City of Newburyport, is slated for 7 p.m. in the first-floor hearing room of the 1910 Town Office Building, 381 Main St. 

The bridge, also known as the Plummer Spring Road bridge, was closed to vehicular traffic last summer following a failure in the spandrel wall.

Newburyport officials secured a Small Bridge Program grant from the state Department of Transportation to fund engineering and design of a replacement bridge.

Since then, the two communities have worked with the design engineer, BSC Group, which recently completed some conceptual design alternatives and preliminary cost estimates.

The public is invited to review and comment on the project’s key issues at the meeting. The issues include roadway width, pedestrian accommodations, bridge type, railing type, cost, and vehicular speed control and traffic safety.

The two communities plan to weigh public input, costs and other factors before selecting a preferred conceptual alternative, after which BSC Group would proceed with the final project design and permitting.

Once permitting is complete and a final estimate of construction costs is available, the project is expected to be proposed for funding based on an agreed cost share between the two communities and offset by further grant monies if possible.

The meeting will be televised on West Newbury cable TV, with video of the session available afterward online on the West Newbury YouTube channel.

For more information, contact Newburyport Department of Public Works Director Wayne Amaral at 978-363-1100, ext. 120, or dpwdirector@wnewbury.org; or Newburyport City Engineer Jon-Eric White at 978-465-4464, ext. 1710, or JEWhite@CityofNewburyport.com.

Staff writer Jack Shea can be reached via email at jshea@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3154. Follow him on Twitter @iamjackshea.

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