Freedom Street Bridge Project - 2016

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                                                        Freedom Street Bridge Reopens

    By Zachary Comeau
    Daily News Staff

    HOPEDALE - The Freedom Street bridge finally reopened Friday after being closed for months due to repairs that were
    marred by delays.

    According to Town Administrator Steve Sette, the road was striped Friday, capping the project that took three months and
    went weeks past a Nov. 20 deadline.

    Aetna Bridge Co. of Warwick R.I., was awarded the $433,000 contract in August with a 90-day schedule.

    Several problems delayed the reopening, including a water line replacement and difficulty getting Eversource to relocate
    utility lines.

    The bridge, which runs adjacent to the Draper Corp. building and across the Hopedale Pond dam, was structurally sound,
    but support beams on the sidewalk nearest the mill were deteriorating, officials said.

    The structure received a safety rating of 3 out of a possible 10 last winter by state inspectors, prompting local officials to
    have the support beams replaced.

    The road serves as a connector between two halves of town. With it being closed for three months, privately-owned
    Fitzgerald Drive was opened to allow residents living near the Draper building to easily access their homes without having
    to drive miles out of the way. The road is owned by First American Realty, the company that owns the Draper building.

    Sette said he and town officials have no regrets about closing the bridge when they did, even though work didn't start for
    several weeks.

    "If we waited - we were going to close it at some point," he said. "We made the decision to close it at a certain day and get
    everyone used to the traffic pattern."

    Town officials last spring once mulled closing just the sidewalk and one lane of the bridge, but officials "didn't want to have
    to do that."

    "The weather held out and we were able to get everything done," Sette said.

    Despite some residents calling for the town to take ownership of Fitzgerald Drive, Sette said that would prove too costly an
    endeavor, as the road is not maintained by the town. The road is expected to be closed shortly, he added.

    Some potholes were filled in during the bridge closing, but taking the road would be costly, Sette said. Milford Daily News,
    December 9, 2016