Beaver Brook Bridge Project
We are pleased to report that the Beaver Brook Bridge Project on Beaver Brook Road is on schedule to fully re-open to all traffic by the end of September. Contractors working for MassDOT have made enough progress, however, to partially open the bridge to local traffic and school buses beginning Friday, August 18th. The detour will remain in place until the bridge is fully complete, but every effort will be made to open at least one lane of traffic during the day while contactors complete the work. Commuters are reminded that this is still a work zone with reduced speeds, stoppages, delays and police directed traffic controls.
Trash Pick-up, recycling and USPS mail delivery will remain on a normal schedule.
Westford Public Schools and Nashoba Valley Technical High School will contact impacted families directly to coordinate student arrangements.
Residents and businesses will be open and accessible by detour during the closure.
FROM: WESTFORD DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
CONTACT: STEPHEN CRONIN, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS
RE: BEAVER BROOK BRIDGE CLOSURE
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) - Highway Division has undertaken the inventory, inspection, and rating of the Beaver Brook Bridge on Beaver Brook Road in Westford and has determined that recent changes in the bridge condition requires that the bridge be CLOSED to vehicular traffic as of 6:00 PM on Friday, November 18, 2022. The reason for this closure is due to severe deterioration of the corrugated structural pipes and the loss of fill that the corrugated pipes are intended to support. Town officials are coordinating the closure with public safety, schools, businesses, residents and surrounding communities. Westford Public Schools and Nashoba Valley Technical High School will contact impacted families directly to coordinate student arrangements. The town is working with MassDOT to accelerate the bridge replacement which was already scheduled for next summer. A detour map and trash and recycling information is available online at www.westfordma.gov/beaverbrookbridge . Beaver Brook Road will remain closed to through traffic until further notice. We apologize for the inconvenience to our residents.
For more information please contact Stephen Cronin, Director of Public Works, by email at email@example.com, or phone at 978-692-5520.
BEAVER BROOK BRIDGE FAQ
Why is Beaver Brook Road closed to thru traffic?
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Bridge Inspection Unit routinely inspects bridge spans greater than ten feet throughout the Commonwealth in order to keep the traveling public safe. During a recent inspection of the Beaver Brook Bridge, MassDOT determined that the existing corrugated metal pipes carrying Beaver Brook under Beaver Brook Road had significantly rusted away at the waterline (section loss) and recommended that the town close the bridge. See images below.
When will the Beaver Brook Road be opened again?
Beaver Brook Road is currently scheduled to be reopened by the end of September 2023. When the town became aware of the bridge deficiencies back in 2016, the Engineering Department began the design and replacement process with support from MassDOT and Westford Town Meeting. The design and permitting for a new bridge is already complete and MassDOT has awarded a contract to MAS Building & Bridge who are scheduled to begin work in April.
Are there any alternatives to closing the bridge?
No. The town worked closely with MassDOT to consider options to closing the bridge, including reducing the bridge to a single lane of traffic using a temporary traffic signal system. The Bridge Inspection Unit determined that the section loss was too significant, and the bridge could not safely support even a single lane of traffic.
Why is no one working to fix the bridge right now?
The design and permitting for a new bridge is already complete and MassDOT has awarded a contract to MAS Building & Bridge who are scheduled to begin work in April. Like any other business, MAS Building & Bridge has other contractual obligations and projects to complete before they can shift their limited resources to the Westford project. The town is working with MassDOT and the Contractor to accelerate the project as much as possible, but there are some construction activities, like the demolition of the existing bridge, that need to be coordinated well in advance with utility companies. More importantly, the pre-cast structures that will replace the existing corrugated pipes are custom built off-site and the manufacturing facilities that produce the structures have limited capacity. The pre-cast concrete factory floor is scheduled well in advance, so accelerating the start of construction does not necessarily change the completion goal.
Was the bridge closed because of all the heavy trucks traveling on Beaver Brook Road?
No. The bridge was closed because the corrugated metal pipes carrying Beaver Brook under Beaver Brook Road had significantly rusted away at the waterline. Also, trucks carrying heavy loads are required to be equipped with multiple heavy-duty tires that distribute the weight of the truck onto the road or bridge surface. Some trucks have as many as 18 wheels for this purpose.