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Bridge will reopen 13 month ahead of schedule

May 3, 2013
<b>The William F. Davitt Bridge is almost ready to reopen.</b> <br>Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs

The William F. Davitt Bridge is almost ready to reopen.
Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs

By G. Michael Dobbs


CHICOPEE — According to state Rep. Joseph Wagner, the William F. Davitt Bridge is expected to be open no later than July 27 — 13 months ahead of schedule.

Wagner and state Sen. James Welch made announcement on April 23.

"This new and modern structure will help to improve access to businesses in Chicopee center. The completion of this major artery serves as the latest example of the Commonwealth's commitment to improving Chicopee's infrastructure," Wagner said.

Welch said, "I'm excited to see the upcoming completion of this project. We appreciate the continued support from the state for our local infrastructure projects, which help to modernize and secure our bridges and roadways."

In speaking to Reminder Publications, Wagner noted the big differences between this bridge re-building project and the Deady Bridge.

"The Davitt is as textbook as a public works project can be," he said.

The Deady Bridge took four years to complete and Wagner noted that complicating factors in that project including the removal of asbestos and the pace at which utility companies completed their part of the work.

Also, he explained, keeping half of the bridge open slowed down the reconstruction.

What helped the Davitt project was the fact there were fewer utility concerns, the complete closure of the bridge and the weather. Also an additional $500,000 from the Commonwealth to pay for extended construction hours sped up the process, he added.

The $8.2 million project started in May 2012.

What is left to do at this point includes setting curb, sidewalk and railing installation, removing the temporary pedestrian bridge, overlaying bituminous black top and completing approach work on each side of the bridge.

Wagner said the motivation for the additional funding to speed up the Davitt project came because the city had two bridge projects underway at the same time, the other being the Willamansett Bridge over the Connecticut River.

Wagner said that he knows there have been delays on the Willamansett Bridge project due to several different issues.

"It is less than a textbook project," he said.

That bridge has been closed since August 2011.

Wagner said that project is much more expensive and "very, very complicated."

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