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November 15. 2012 1:17PM

Wire Road bridge project now under way in Merrimack

MERRIMACK -- Construction is now under way to replace a bridge on Wire Road, which will require a portion of the roadway to be closed for about nine months.

Work began Monday on the Wire Road Bridge over Baboosic Brook, which is located at Bryant Circle near the Bedford town line. The $832,000 project will replace an existing 17-foot corrugated metal pipe bridge with a 62-foot precast concrete bridge, said Rick Seymour, director of the Merrimack Public Works Department.

According to Seymour, the profile of Wire Road will be raised to prevent flooding during heavy rain, which has forced Wire Road to be closed on several previous occasions.

"When we do the design, we try to make sure that we can alleviate some of these flooding situations," he said. "This is an old bridge. It was constructed in 1980."

Because the new bridge structure will be larger, Seymour explained that more water will be able to pass under the bridge rather than accumulate and create overflow flooding.The town is trying to be proactive by replacing some of the corrugated metal arch bridges within the community, said Seymour, explaining the new bridge will look more like a concrete bridge structure.

A similar structure was recently removed on Amherst Road, and another bridge on Bedford Road is also in the process of being replaced, according to Seymour.

When some of these bridges were built decades ago, their life expectancy was predicted to be long, he said. Since then, however, many of the corrugated metal pipe bridges have corroded, he added.

A traffic detour has been set up; however, public works employees are encouraging motorists to avoid the Wire Road area when possible. Construction work is being done by R.M. Piper Inc. of Plymouth. Crews will work through the winter months, and construction should be complete by the end of the spring.

"If all goes well, they may even be done a little earlier," said Seymour.

The project is part of the state Department of Transportation's bridge aid program, meaning the town will pay for 20 percent of the project's total cost, and the remaining 80 percent will be funded by the state.

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