Chestnut Street Bridge to be replaced over the fall

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The Chestnut Street Bridge will be closed through December as part of a project to replace the aging structure. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

The bridge on Chestnut Street will be closed down later this month as part of a multi-week project.

The work is being done by Northern Construction LLC., of Palmer, and includes full replacement of the bridge and the existing water main in Chestnut Street. Reconstruction of the sidewalks on the northern side of Chestnut Street and milling and overlaying of the roadway from Route 1 to S. Washington Street will also be done.

Chestnut Street will be closed to through-traffic between East Street and E. Washington Street (Route 1) from late September through December. Local businesses and homes will be accessible during construction from either side of the bridge.

Department of Public Works Director Mark Hollowell said the project is part of a series of upgrades and renovations, a recent one being the Fisher Street Bridge. He said the Chestnut Street Bridge is narrow and acts as impediment to the flow of the river, something that will be addressed during its replacement.

It’s very old and much in need of replacement,” said Hollowell.

On a related note, the town is working on a dredging project for the 10-Mile River to help reduce flooding, said Hollowell. Flooding from the river is a constant problem, and happened two months ago when a powerful storm hit the area. Replacing the bridge will help alleviate this, as it will improve the flow of water.

It’s a big thing the town needs to fix to mitigate future storms and flooding,” said Hollowell.

In a 2018 report from the Massachusetts Bridge Inspection Program, it was determined that the bridge has a number of issues that need to be addressed. This includes heavy rusting on the beams and fractures in the plates between them. Exposed concrete was found to be heavily deteriorated.