For Immediate Release - July 07, 2010

GOVERNOR PATRICK HIGHLIGHTS MAJOR I-495 "BRIDGE BUNDLE" ACCELERATED BRIDGE PROJECT IN LOWELL

LOWELL - Thursday, July 7, 2010 - As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's historic $4 billion Massachusetts Works program that will put nearly 20,000 people to work across the Commonwealth, Governor Deval Patrick today joined local leaders in Lowell at the I-495 Bridge Bundle project that will replace six major bridges carrying northbound and southbound traffic on I-495. The $36.8 million project is being funded by the Governor's landmark eight-year, $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program to repair deficient and obsolete bridges across the Commonwealth and is moving forward on an accelerated timeline using an innovative "design-build" streamlined construction contract process.

"We are erasing years of neglect through infrastructure projects across the Commonwealth, and there is no better example than here in Lowell," said Governor Patrick. "We are doing this major project the right way - on time and on budget, while investing in our regional transportation infrastructure and putting hundreds of people to work."

"Thanks to the Governor's Accelerated Bridge Program and his broader commitment to strategic transportation investments, the fact is that our roads and bridges are safer today than they were three years ago," said Transportation Secretary and CEO Jeffrey Mullan.

The "Design/Build" project initiated in fall 2009 is replacing the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 495, which carry approximately 65,000 vehicles per day in each direction. The replacement of six bridges originally built nearly 50 years ago includes two bridges that span the MBTA Lowell Commuter Rail line, two that cross Woburn Street and the remaining two that pass over the Concord River. Three lanes are operating at peak hours at all times in both directions for the duration of the project, including crossover lanes for traffic management purposes. Much of the work is being done at night to minimize inconvenience to the traveling public. Full completion of the project is scheduled for June 2011.

"I am pleased to see this significant 'Design/Build' project move forward successfully," said MassDOT Highway Division Administrator Luisa Paiewonsky. "We promised the Accelerated Bridge Program would be a laboratory for innovative construction techniques, and we are on course in reducing the timeframes for these projects while ensuring that safety and environmental protection are emphasized."

Since the Patrick-Murray Administration filed legislation approved by the Legislature creating the $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program (ABP) in 2008, the number of structurally deficient bridges has dropped from 543 to 494, a decline of nearly 10 percent. As a result of ABP alone, 13 bridge projects are already complete, with a total of 62 bridge projects scheduled for construction this season. Over the course of the program, at least 200 bridges will see active construction.

Together, the Commonwealth's investment in roads and bridges has grown to $1.085 billion in fiscal year 2010 and will support more than 10,000 jobs on 385 separate projects across the state. 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 federal stimulus-funded 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 www.mass.gov/governor/massworks. 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 www.mass.gov/governor/agenda.

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 www.mass.gov/massdot, the MassDOT blog at www.mass.gov/blog/transportation or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.

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