Oakham Bridge
Part of the beauty of Central Massachusetts is the many rivers that run through it but that makes the bridges a crucial part of the infrastructure for the residents in this region.

Recovery Act Impact: Transportation

  • $400 million

  • Worcester County: $40 million

  • Oakham Bridge Betterment Project: $800K

The Coldbrook Road Bridge in Oakham which spans Muddy Pond Brook is no exception. It is the most direct way for area residents to get to Worcester and experiences heavy commuter traffic. The bridge was built in 1938 just after a huge flood and recently it was starting to show its age.

"It was in reduced capacity," said Steve Romano, a civil engineer in the District Three office of Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

Oakham Bridge
The weight limit on the bridge was reduced to 10 tons and the railing was rotting off. There were patches in the sidewalk and some of the debris was falling into the river below.

"It was in need of repair," said Byron Bearugard, another civil engineer in the District Three office.

But with an economy that was in a recession, even the most necessary transportation projects were having a hard time getting funding. But the stimulus program made all the difference.

The state has spent $397 million in stimulus funds on transportation projects

Oakham Bridge
throughout the state and $40 million in Worcester County which MassDOT's District Three roughly covers.

The stimulus program awarded $800K to repair the bridge structure. The contractor, David Roche & Brothers, is on track to finish the project five months ahead of schedule. Its repairs involved replacing the superstructure with safety upgrades, new beams and new decks as well as erosion control. The foundation was retained and the original steel sheets were utilized.

The bridge is now open to two lanes of traffic and it's hard to remember the rot and the patches that covered it just a short while ago. "This is a much better situation," said Beauregard.