CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Work on the Willimansett Bridge has been at a standstill since last year when the company responsible for the repairs went bankrupt.
It’s been about two and half years since the bridge, which connects Chicopee and Holyoke, closed for construction. But all work stopped last September when the original contractor declared bankruptcy.
Holyoke representative Aaron Vega told 22News “When these infrastructure projects come, they are important for everybody, but the impact they have on small businesses can really be heartfelt.”
A.B.M Transmissions is just a few steps from the bridge. Owner Mark MacDonald told 22News 15,000 cars used to come down this way on a daily basis to cross the bridge. Now it’s just a dead end.
“There’s nothing. It’s dead. I had to hire a private security company to come around at night, late at night, to watch what’s going on in the yard.” MacDonald said.
Heidi Nyquist of Holyoke told 22News she has to walk across the pedestrian bridge daily.
“After six o’clock, nothing, no one. I’m scared walking wherever I have to across this bridge. It’s not safe.
However state officials say within four weeks, there could be a new contractor. They say construction could resume by early spring, and the bridge could reopen by the end of this year.
Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos told 22News he’s glad the state is now very close to hiring a new contractor.
“This is great news. I mean it’s all about jobs. It’s all about commerce. Businesses on both sides of the bridge, residents on both sides, it’s a special time that it’s finally been resolved,” said Kos.
22News also talked to some businesses owners whose shops are located just steps from the closed bridge. They said it’s closure has been costing them money.