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
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
"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