All four lanes of the A. Piatt Andrew Bridge will be open for beach traffic by the end of the month, with the final stages of the $25.8 million project moving from the road surface to underneath the bridge, state transportation officials say.
The jersey barriers that have divided lanes within both the northbound and southbound sides for more than a year have now been removed, and while one lane on each side remained closed Monday, the lanes were separated only by traditional highway barrels. The lone remaining concrete barrier is the one separating the northbound and southbound traffic.
Reconstruction of the bridge, which started two years ago, is now more than three-quarters done and will focus on painting and work on the structural underside of the bridge, Massachusetts Transportation Department Spokesman Adam Hurtubise said Monday.
The opening of the full four lanes over the next two weeks won't be the first time that's been the case since the project began.
All four lanes of the bridge were opened intermittently last summer. But work often meant the shutdown of one of the lanes, and the summer of 2009 still saw major delays at Grant Circle, its arteries and, from the other direction, on Route 128 back through West Gloucester.
Repair of the structural steel on the 60-year-old bridge was the primary reason for the reconstruction project, but the addition of a new suicide-prevention fence was the subject of much of the debate about the design.
The project included replacing decaying girders with 22,000 pounds of structural steel and digging up and repaving all four travel lanes.
Since the initial $8.5 million cost estimate, the bridge reconstruction project has tripled in price.
The full project is expected to be completed next spring.
Patrick Anderson can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3455, or email@example.com.