CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Many commuters woke up excited to take the Willimansett Bridge to work Friday morning, something they haven’t been able to do for the past four years. The bridge officially reopened Thursday afternoon; a moment many drivers have been waiting for.
However, the bridge’s structural repairs came at an expensive price. Initially, they were supposed to cost $18 million, but a lot changed since the start of construction in 2011.
The first contractor of the project went bankrupt, and construction was put on hold for nine months. Last year, Northern Construction picked up the project, under a more expensive contract. Northern Construction’s bid was about $750,000 more than the initial contractor, but they agreed to make up the difference by completing the project quicker, working two 10-hour shifts daily.
By the time the bridge reopened, the project cost a total of $26.5 million. For those who drive from Holyoke to Chicopee and vice-versa every day, the additional money may be worth it.
Before the bridge reopened, many commuters were forced to take Interstate 391. According to MapQuest, that’s a seven minute drive, without traffic, to get from Cabot Street to Chicopee Street using Interstate 391. Now, they can simply cross over the newly repaired, 800-foot-long, 124-year-old bridge.