Divers examining 80 year-old bridge in Bondsville

Bridge carries Route 181 over Swift River between Palmer and Belchertown

BONDSVILLE, Mass. (WWLP) – Divers were submerged seven feet below the surface of the Swift River for more than an hour to examine an 80-year-old bridge in Bondsville.

The divers are working for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to inspect the bridge that carries Route 181 over the river, connecting the towns of Belchertown and Palmer.

Every three years, divers conduct these underwater inspections, and they then make recommendations to the state on any work that may be needed on the bridge, due to deterioration below the surface of the water.

“This bridge is in good condition,” diver Mike Dostal told 22News. “What we’ve been finding—minor deterioration, water abrasion—essentially was only at the bed of the abutment.”

Chief bridge inspection engineer Brian Clang watches the divers’ work very closely. “Bridges can begin to go from a fair condition to a poor condition overnight.” Drivers who cross the bridge daily from Palmer to Belchertown can breathe easy; this bridge build back to 1937 has withstood the wear and tear.

Divers will repeat their top to bottom inspection again in 2020.