By Dustin Luca
---- — Residents will learn tonight, Thursday, how the state plans to rebuild a bridge that brings heavy traffic to and from downtown Andover each day.
A hearing tonight, Thursday, will unveil plans to replace the North Main Street bridge at Railroad Street.
The North Main Street bridge project comes with a price tag of nearly $5 million and could start in the summer of 2014. It is the state’s priority to keep open throughout construction two lanes of traffic – one in each direction, according to Mike Verseckes, spokesman for the state’s Department of Transportation.
The state project will replace the bridge’s superstructure and a portion of its substructure. The bridge will be raised to accommodate modern train requirements, according to the DOT website.
The meeting tonight, Jan. 3, is “our chance to reach out to the community and say, ‘Hey, here’s our plan,’ and solicit questions and feedback, and incorporate some of that feedback into what we’ve got,” Verseckes said.
The bridge crosses over a pair of railroad tracks that run parallel to Railroad Street, near the Andover commuter rail stop. The bridge is the portion of Route 28 that is north of the Public Safety Center and south of McDonald’s. Being a portion of Route 28, the bridge helps bring traffic from the heart of downtown Andover to Shawsheen Square.
Since the project was first announced, discussion has focused heavily on how traffic over the bridge would be handled during its replacement.
The project currently allows for two lanes of traffic to be open at all times throughout the project, according to Verseckes. That could change, but “that’s our commitment, to ensure that at least the bridge is accessible heading in both directions.”
“In all likelihood, the lane widths will be reduced to provide for two lanes of travel,” he said.
The project will be presented to the public at the Memorial Hall Library tonight, Thursday, at 7 p.m.
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