|By G. Michael Dobbs|
CHICOPEE Although it might appear that construction has stopped on the Deady Bridge project, State Representative Joseph Wagner (D-Chicopee) told The Chicopee Herald "there is work going on."
Wagner said that Charter Communication has been doing its part in the construction of the new bridge. Charter's work followed a stint of work by Verizon.
Wagner said that MassHighways officials told him that Charter would be working there for about two weeks. Once they are finished, Wagner said there would be asbestos abatement from a conduit under the bridge that will take four to six weeks.
Once the asbestos removal is completed, then the demolition of the temporary bridge will take place.
"It's been slow," Wagner said. "There is no such thing as a 'text book' public work project."
The general contractor for the project has been delayed by the work schedule by utilities such as Charter and Verizon, he said.
The $10 million project paid primarily through state funds will transform the former "singing bridge" of four lanes into a five-lane structure.
Wagner said there have been two additional values to the project: a $1 million temporary bridge and an add-on project to improve the Montgomery Street-Grattan Street-Memorial Drive intersection. Wagner explained that in many cases the state does not go to the expense of constructing a temporary bridge: a bridge under repair simply is closed.
He added the intersection improvements would allow the road to line up better with the bridge and create less confusion for motorists.
Wagner also announced last week that Chicopee has received a $1.9 million state contribution the tenth in a series of payments for the construction of the new Chicopee Comprehensive High School, bringing the total state funding commitment to more than $54 million.
"Under school construction reforms passed by the legislature, communities like Chicopee now receive the state's portion of approved construction costs on a pay-as-you-go basis. This provides the city more financial flexibility, and saves local and state taxpayers millions of dollars in borrowing costs," said Wagner.
The Massachusetts School Building Authority authorized the maximum allowable cost for the construction of Chicopee Comprehensive High School project at $72.5 million. Ninety percent of that amount, or 67.3 million, will be paid by the state. In addition, the state has also approved for Chicopee, a two percent low interest loan in the amount of $12.6 million to help alleviate project cost increases and overruns.