For Immediate Release - May 26, 2010


More Than $240 Million Invested in Road & Bridge Projects as Part of Massachusetts Works Initiative to Spur Economic Recovery

FALL RIVER - Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's historic Massachusetts Works program to promote job growth and long-term economic recovery, Governor Deval Patrick today joined local leaders in Fall River to highlight the over $240 million investment in road and bridges projects currently under construction and announce an additional $850,000 to support a phase II planning study to examine issues surrounding the possible removal of the elevated portions of Route 79. Removal of the elevated portions of Route 79 would open up waterfront property for potential redevelopment and could possibly tie into the South Coast Rail project as a potential station location. The road and bridge projects complement the Governor's commitment to moving the South Coast Rail project forward as a key economic development opportunity for the Fall River region.

During today's visit, the Governor toured the $186 million Brightman Street Bridge replacement project, one of the largest projects in the Commonwealth. He also received an update on other important projects in Fall River, including the multi-phased maintenance and repair projects planned for the Braga Bridge. A $14 million painting project on the Braga Bridge currently underway is funded by the Governor's Accelerated Bridge Program to reduce the inherited backlog of structurally-deficient bridges.

"We are making long-awaited repairs to two critically important bridges that when completed will make life easier and safer for Fall River residents," said Governor Patrick. "Together these projects demonstrate our commitment to improving safety, rebuilding our neglected infrastructure and putting people to work despite a difficult economic climate."

The Fall River projects are among the more than 385 road and bridge projects ongoing across the Commonwealth this summer. The Patrick--Murray Administration's investment in roads and bridges totals more than $1.085 billion and will sustain more than 10,000 jobs. The road and bridge projects are a part of the more than $4 billion infrastructure investments being made as part of the Administration's Massachusetts Works initiative putting nearly 20,000 people to work across the Commonwealth this construction season.

"The Massachusetts Works Initiative is evidence of our promise to break ground on hundreds of construction-related projects this construction season that will create jobs for today and support long-term growth and sustainability for the Commonwealth's future," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.

The Brightman Street Bridge project is a four-phased effort to relocate Route 6 over the Taunton River connecting Fall River and Somerset. The new double drawbridge stretches 1,700 feet from the east abutment in Fall River to the west abutment in Somerset and stands a quarter-mile north of the existing bridge. Built in 1906, the current bridge handles 45,000 vehicles per day.

"For too long we neglected our roads and bridges, but that time has passed. Thanks to the Governor's leadership we are investing historic levels of funding in our transportation infrastructure to strengthen communities and build safer roads for everyone," said MassDOT Secretary & CEO Jeff Mullan.

"The Veteran's Memorial Bridge project is a prime example of Governor Patrick's steadfast commitment to the South Coast. Plans to build the bridge lingered for over 30 years, but once Governor Patrick took office he made this project a priority. I thank Governor Patrick for his continued leadership on this project and all the other projects across the South Coast," said Senator Joan Menard.

"This Governor has consistently shown a commitment to our region. We have waited nearly two decades to build a new bridge and, thanks to Governor Patrick's commitment, we stand at the base of this new structure named for all veterans in both Somerset and Fall River who served our Commonwealth and nation," said Representative Patricia A. Haddad.

"As part of a bigger strategy in making South Coast Rail a reality, Governor Patrick has understood since day one the important role the South Coast has as an economic engine for the Commonwealth. These investments strengthening our road and bridges reflect a broad commitment to create jobs and grow our economy for the long term," said Representative Michael J. Rodrigues.

"The level of support for Fall River and the Southcoast region by the Patrick Administration is very much appreciated. I thank Governor Patrick for not only making a commitment to our area when he campaigned for Governor, but more importantly keeping the commitment today," said Representative Kevin Aguiar.

"I want to commend Governor Patrick and his administration for their commitment to the Greater Fall River area. The Patrick- Murray Administration is committed to moving our area forward," said Mayor William Flanagan.

Massachusetts doubled its investment in road and bridge construction in just three years, to more than $1 billion. As a result of these investments, particularly the Accelerated Bridge Program, the number of structurally deficient bridges in the Commonwealth has dropped nearly 10% in two years. At the same time, MassDOT reduced the time from construction contract advertisement to construction start by more than 43 percent - a drop from 218 days in 2008 to 124 days in 2009. For ARRA projects, the timeline from construction contract advertisement to notice to proceed was reduced to 48 days, allowing MassDOT to put people to work on construction projects faster than ever before.

To learn more about Massachusetts Works, visit For additional information on how the Patrick-Murray Administration's agenda has led Massachusetts out of a global recession sooner and stronger than the rest of the nation, visit

MassDOT is the new, unified transportation organization created in 2009 under the historic reform legislation passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Patrick. MassDOT's four divisions are focused on delivering safe and efficient transportation services across the Commonwealth. For transportation news and updates, visit the MassDOT website at, the MassDOT blog at or follow MassDOT on twitter at


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