Engineers say the Memorial Bridge is structurally deficient, so to say this grant money is needed to make repairs would be an understatement. The $90-million dollars is a much-needed step in the right direction to making the bridge safer for everyone who crosses it.
The scenic Memorial Bridge is a vital artery for commuters and a popular route for early morning joggers and bikers, but the bridge is in bad shape; crumbling even. It’s a concern for many of the 68,000 people who cross it each day.
“Actually I’m nervous to go across the bridge, because it was very damaged, it was very damaged,” says one jogger who uses the bridge daily. “Of course my weight isn’t going to affect it but if there’s a big truck or heavy stuff, you never know.”
Engineers have long said the bridge needs work. It was built in 1932 and has never undergone a major rehabilitation, long outliving it’s 75-year life span.
Now, thanks to the grant from the Department of Transportation, phase one will begin, which will focus on the bridge’s approach spans. But that’s just the beginning, the National Park $160-million dollars to finish the project.
Where the rest of the money will come from isn’t clear, although the park service could request more federal help.
For now, the immediate repairs will sustain the bridge until 2030 while officials try to come up with the money to work on the center approach.
“Domestic infrastructure is a huge concern across the U.S. and it does have to be repaired,” says Brian Winski, a jogger. “
It’s far less to maintain it than it is to repair it.”
The iconic bridge a shining example of the 6-billion dollar backlog of bridges and roads across the country that need work.
The National Park service has said the Memorial Bridge would need to be shut down and made into a pedestrian-only bridge by the year 2021 if the repairs were not made.