State tests traffic rerouting ahead of major bridge replacement project

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Photo/via MassDOT
A MassDOT artist’s rendering shows the process state contractors plan to use to replace bridges in Westborough and Southborough. Traffic rerouting can be seen as vehicles travel west in a temporarily divided eastbound lane.

By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor

REGION – Motorists on the Mass Pike in Southborough and Westborough inadvertently took part in a novel experiment by the state last weekend, as it prepares to replace a set of crumbling bridges over local roads. 

In a “trial run” of traffic rerouting plans, June 4 through June 6, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) sent vehicles through a “median crossover” to temporarily ride in the eastbound lane of the highway. 

The state placed a concrete barrier between eastbound and westbound traffic as they now shared a side of the normally divided highway. 

“The goal is to make sure the traffic shift and reduction will run as smoothly as possible during the actual bridge replacement weekends,” MassDOT wrote in a press release.

Bridges over Flanders Road in Westborough and Parkerville Road, Cordaville Road and Woodland Road in Southborough all sit in varying states of disarray decades after their initial construction. 

Recognizing that, the state is eyeing a state-of-the-art method of installing prefabricated bridge components to complete major replacement projects at the four locations over eight weeks this summer. 

The method is between 20 and 30 percent more expensive than traditional building options. If successful, though, it will shorten work that could have taken between three and four years, according to MassDOT.

“This (ABC) is the right way to take care of our transportation infrastructure,” MassDOT representative Mickey Splaine said at a public information session back in April.

Work is expected to begin on June 18 and run through August 16.