Monday, February 27, 2017

Lincoln Street Bridge Update

This past summer the Lincoln Street pedestrian bridge was hit by a truck.  After inspection by a Massachusetts Department of Transportation structural engineer, it was recommended that due to the structural damage the bridge be closed until repair.   Since then, MERSD has been working in collaboration with Manchester and Essex town boards to investigate repair and reconstruction options.  At question is whether to simply return the bridge to a functional state or increase the height of the bridge to decrease the potential of future accidents. Pursuing an improvement option presents funding questions for the towns and the school district.  Insurance will typically reimburse repairs to bring an asset back to its pre-accident condition, leaving the owner with the cost of any improvements.  The bridge is owned by the town of Manchester and leased by MERSD.  As the lessee, MERSD is responsible for maintenance of the bridge, meaning that repair costs in excess of any insurance reimbursement are shared by both towns. The estimated cost of repair and improvement ranges from $80,000 - $150,000. The scope of the project requires that we seek design plans and bids for work.  We will be soliciting proposals over the next month and making a determination as to how to proceed in April.  It is our hope that the work will be completed over the summer and the bridge will be back online for the opening of the school year.