Despite favorable weather, work to replace the narrow Mirimichi Bridge is behind schedule for a few reasons.
The bridge, which serves as a popular link between Plainville and Foxboro, was expected to open mid-spring, but it now appears it won’t be open until June, Plainville Public Works Director Paul Scott said.
“The contractor was on time to start but there were some delays early on,” Scott said. “The first of June we hope the bridge will be open.”
Some of the delay has been attributed to greater than expected flooding during excavation work.
“There was more water than they could handle and they stopped drilling,” Scott said, noting it was groundwater and not water from Lake Mirimichi. “It has pushed back the schedule quite a bit.”
Also, a lot of clay was hit while drilling for steel pilings, which is being done by a subcontractor.
The project is about eight weeks behind the original schedule, the public works director said.
Drivers have had to take lengthy detours since the bridge work began in late September, inconveniencing area residents, including those from Foxboro. Some of them have expressed irritation with the project.
“I am of course aware that many folks in that area are unhappy with the length of the project,” selectmen Chairman Jeff Johnson said.
Plainville’s police and fire chiefs recently updated selectmen on whether the project was affecting emergency response times to the area.
“I felt it fair to ask if we were seeing response times as expected, and if there had been any specific incidents where public safety had been impacted by the project,” Johnson said. “They both communicated back that response times were pretty much as expected and there had been no incidents where the bridge project had created or exacerbated a problem.”
Plainville Fire Chief Justin Alexander had said the project adds about four minutes to emergency response times on the side of the lake closest to Foxboro.
Signs have been posted in the area to alert drivers of the bridge closure.
Construction is taking place Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather permitting.
The work was ordered after it was found the bridge was structurally deficient.
It includes the removal of the existing bridge, construction of a new concrete bridge with guardrails, and signage.
Like the old bridge, the new bridge will be narrow, accommodating only one car in one direction at a time.
The $1.5 million project cost is about double the original $800,000 estimate because soil conditions require pilings to be driven deeper than initially expected. The tab is being covered with a $500,000 state grant and $700,000 in town funds along with state road money.
For more information about the bridge project, visit the page on Plainville’s website at www.plainville.ma.us/mirimichi-bridge.
If residents and drivers encounter any issues due to the work, they are asked to contact the Plainville Department of Public Works at 508-699-2071 or email Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.