Project eligibility - Municipal Small Bridge Program

Every municipality is eligible to apply

Table of Contents

Eligibility for design and construction grants

Every municipality in the Commonwealth is eligible to apply during each annual application round for both Phase 1 (design) and Phase 2 (construction) grants. Only municipal staff/officials may submit applications. A single application may propose improvements at just one bridge location. There is no limit to the number of applications a municipality may submit for either grant phase. However, excluding emergency cases, a municipality may only receive a maximum of one Phase 1 and one Phase 2 grant per fiscal year.

A municipality may submit multiple applications for separate small bridges for either grant phase (design or construction) during a single fiscal year but may not request both Phase 1 and Phase 2 funds for the same bridge at the same time. In order to apply for a Phase 2 construction grant, a municipality must demonstrate a final design completed by a MassDOT prequalified firm (through a Phase 1 grant or other funding source) and undergo a successful Chapter 85 review. However, a municipality may submit an application for a Phase 1 grant for one small bridge and also apply for Phase 2 funding for another small bridge that has already completed design.

Regardless of the grant phase for which funding is sought, the same eligibility requirements apply to both the design and construction of bridge replacement, preservation, and rehabilitation projects. Bridges must be on a local public way and must be on the State Bridge Inventory with a span between 10 and 20 feet. These bridges are considered "BRI" structures, and MassDOT maintains a list of all BRI structures as well as a map of BRI structures. These small bridges are not eligible for federal aid under existing bridge programs. The municipality is also required to demonstrate a fiscal need for the grant.

Proposed bridge replacement

For proposed bridge replacement projects, the bridge must be structurally deficient (if known), or load posted. Municipal Small Bridge Program replacement projects must adhere to Chapter 85 Section 35 specifications.

Preservation or rehabilitation

For preservation or rehabilitation projects, the proposed activities must aim to extend the useful service life of the bridge by at least twenty years for the elements of the bridge being preserved. Eligible preservation and rehabilitation activities include:

  • Cleaning and painting of structural steel
  • Concrete patching of decks, applying membranes and wearing surface replacement
  • Milling and paving for wearing surface preservation is only for bridge deck and 100' of approach work
  • Joint sealing, rehabilitation, or replacement
  • Rehabilitation, patching or the protection of concrete abutments and piers
  • Scour mitigation or repairs related to scour damage
  • Structural repairs including plating of steel beams and repairing concrete beams and slabs
  • Repairs to stone or masonry arches
  • Replacement or jacketing of timber piles
  • Safety improvements to bridge and approach railing

Ineligible expenses include:

  • Municipal administrative costs
  • Legal costs
  • Insurance premiums
  • Costs incurred before the date of the agreement

Municipal Small Bridge Program preservation projects must follow the Chapter 85 Section 35 specifications.

Additional Resources



District 1: Mark T. Devylder
District 2: Daniel J. Sund
District 3: Mohammed S. Nabulsi
District 4: Douglas Consentino (Acting District Bridge Engineer)
District 5: Shane Sousa
District 6: Shu X. Tan


District 1 Bridge Engineer
270 Main Street
Lenox, MA 02140
District 2 Bridge Engineer
811 North King Street
Northampton, MA 01060
District 3 Bridge Engineer
499 Plantation Parkway
Worcester, MA 01605
District 4 Bridge Engineer
519 Appleton Street
Arlington, MA 02476
District 5 Bridge Engineer
1000 County Street
Taunton, MA 02780
District 6 Bridge Engineer
185 Kneeland Street
Boston, MA 02111