Rehabilitation starts on Columbia Greenway river crossing

The bridge is going to connect two portions in the city over the Westfield River

The former train bridge that crosses the Westfield River just west of the automotive bridges will be converted into part of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail system (WNG file photo)

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) — Work has begun to connect two city parks and the Columbia Greenway over the Westfield River.

Rehabilitation work has begun on the abandoned railroad trestle that is over the Westfield River near Elm Street, known as the Columbia Greenway North segment. The project, which is being funded with about $3.7 million in Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) funds, according to city engineer Mark Cressotti, as well as additional city funds, will eventually connect parks on either side, as well as provide a pedestrian bridge along the Columbia Greenway.

“The Friends of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail are very enthusiastic of what’s going on and the level of encouragement from the community has been very much appreciated,” Sandy Sorrell, vice-chair and director of resource development for the Friends of the Columbia Greenway, said. “We want this to go forward.”

The bridge is going to connect two portions in the city over the Westfield River, which will then extend the Greenway.

“It will connect Women’s Temperance Park with the esplanade with a dedicated bridge to the Columbia Greenway,” Cressotti said.

“The work they are doing now is the rehabilitation for the bridge,” Jeremy Cigal, assistant civil engineer for Westfield, said.

According to Cigal, this step, which is being done by Atsalis Brothers Painting, Co., includes cleaning the structure, painting, as well as minor structural repairs. Cressotti said that this also includes scaffolding under the existing bridge.

“It’s pretty old, so minor structural maintenance and the painting are a big part of the repairs,” Cigal said.

Cigal said that if all goes as planned, then this step of the rehabilitation process will be done by the end of this year.

“Once all that is done—which is hopefully the end of this year—they will do sidewalk enhancements next year,” he said.

According to plans from the engineering department, the project is expected to be around 455 feet. In addition, there are plans for landscape modifications and sidewalks being placed on either side of the bridge. Also, lighting and rails will be placed along the pedestrian bridge.

Copyright 2017 The Westfield News