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November 9, 2012

Rourke Bridge Meeting Report

by at 5:20 pm.

A post on Facebook by our frequent commenter, Joe S, about the public meeting on the Rourke Bridge, caught my attention, and I got permission to reprint it here. I’ve put it in with minor edits.

Rourke Bridge meeting was confined to the bridge only (area impact subject of next meeting). The team used models to project the need as of 2035 (hopefully well after bridge is built). Several options on location evaluated, one being to tear down the temp bridge and leave it at that (rejected). Build options were for locations and size.

The location options were a) at the present bridge, b) slightly upriver to connect to Old Ferry Road by crossing the river at an angle, c) downriver at an unspecified location and d) upriver in the North Chelmsford area to connect route 40.

For size, it was [proposed] 2-lane, 4-lane and 6-lane. The 2-lane is too small, the 6-lane is overkill and the 4-lane (likely selected) is good with plenty of margin. Much of the following discussion related to impact on the Pawtucketville neighborhood (concern that a better bridge would increase local traffic), and surprisingly some residents seemed to favor extending a highway through Pawtucketville (ugh!)… Although not concluded at the meeting, I suspect the eventual answer will be a 4-lane bridge with pilings (someone wanted none) basically in the same location as the temporary bridge.

Best case that would be [built] in about 5 years. In the meantime, upgrades to surrounding streets and intersections will be the subject of the next meeting.

He also added that “the plan is to have 5-ft bike lanes on each side” for you biking enthusiasts (lookin’ at you Marianne!).

5 Responses to “Rourke Bridge Meeting Report”

  1. Magnolia Says:

    Well you know where I live - so I would favor moving it upriver - either Old Ferry, or Route 40. We are at gridlock here most afternoons starting around 3:00 and even emergency vehicles have a tough time making it through. Now they tell us we aree getting a charter school at the Bradfrod Industries site. ( Of course if they want to pay me good money and take my house, I would love to get out of town. )Sighhh…

  2. Christopher Says:

    Is there a map that shows these proposals? I’m more of a visual person when it comes to things like this. Also, I don’t think it would be completely out of line to have two bridges: one in basically the current spot for access to Drum Hill and one that provides direct access to Vinal Square.

  3. Marianne Says:

    Wow. That bridge is going to be huge. I’m excited for the bike lanes, right now crossing the Rourke on a bike (or on foot…) is a nightmare.

  4. joe from Lowell Says:

    As always, transportation choices need to consider not just current conditions, but the changes that new infrastructure would provide.

    Does Pawtucketville want greater vehicular access, and thus greater development pressure, to that suburban area? Does the city as a whole? If that is not desirable, would this outcome be worth the benefit of easing the existing problem at Wood and Middlesex?

    Maybe, maybe not. I just hope this thinking is brought into the discussion.

  5. Lynne Says:

    Joe S wanted to post this link and for some reason could not:

    “…the site should have a map on it, but not yet. I expect they will be updating it in the next couple of weeks.”

    http://www.rourkebridgestudy.com/documents.html

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