New Bedford- Fairhaven Bridge Will Close for 3 Weeks
Thousands of drivers rely on the New Bedford-Fairhaven bridge, but they're going to have to find another route starting 6am Sunday morning for three weeks. It's closing down because it's in dire need of repairs.
The construction on the Route 6 bridge is being hammered out in phases. This phase will cost about 1.75 million dollars and will replace an old transformer, that's so old, the parts to fix it no longer exist.
When a bridge is over a hundred years old, like the Route 6 one, it's bound to have it's problems.
Kym Lee lives in Merriam and crosses the bridge often. She says, “I'd rather see it be fixed before someone actually or something bad happens.”
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation says the transformer that opens and closes the bridge needs to be changed, or the bridge might not be able to open anymore. They'll also be replacing 14 motors. It's being done now, before the busy boating season.
Lee says, “I think three weeks is a long time but if something terrible were to happen that would be much worse.
But the closure is bad for business. Michael McGarty is a server at Fathoms Restaurant. It's the first place you see when you cross the bridge into Fairhaven.
McGarty is worried about the slowed traffic from the closure. He says, “The biggest thing is whoever would normally pass by and stop in, they won't be able to.”
But Fathoms is taking the opportunity to spruce up the place, they're shutting down for 11 days to clean and give repaint.
However, for people who's job is driving, like Carlos Betancourt, the closure is costly. He drops off dry cleaned clothes to customers every day.
“I take this bridge at least twice a day, Saturday about four or five times,” said Betancourt.
But Betancourt says the bridge looks as bad as it did 20 years ago, and is willing to deal with the extra miles of a detour if it means the bridge will last.
“I left and I came back, I see everything is almost the same way that it was for so many years, so in some way I am glad to see that it's doing something,” Betancourt said.
After this phase of repairs the Massachusetts Department of Transportation will continue structural work, with the bridge open. In total, construction is estimated to cost 17 million dollars.
Here are the detours for travelers:
- The primary detour for Route 6 Westbound traffic in Fairhaven is to head north on Main Street, turn left onto Howland Road to Coggeshall Street, and then turn left onto Route 18 Southbound.
- Route 6 Eastbound traffic in New Bedford is being detoured up Route 18 Northbound and onto I-195 Eastbound at (Exit 15) to Exit 18 and onto Route 240 Southbound.