The nature of the transportation infrastructure construction industry seems to be changing, with more and more state departments of transportation (DOTs) thinking multimodally.
The Massachusetts DOT, for example, has begun work on a major bridge project designed to increase capacity on an I-95 bridge while also providing bike and pedestrian access.
The Whittier Bridge over the Merrimack River will replace the existing 57-year-old bridge with a new eight-lane structure that will include bike and pedestrian lanes to encourage multimodal use. MassDOT officials estimate the project will create or sustain about 400 construction jobs and an additional 1,000 indirect jobs.
The new bridge is one of the five "mega" projects in the state's Accelerated Bridge Program, an effort to reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges across Massachusetts while providing new jobs for citizens. Since the program's inception in 2008, the number of structurally deficient bridges in the state has dropped 19% (from 543 to 440).
The Whittier Bridge project also includes the replacement or repair of four adjacent bridges along I-95 in Amesbury and Newburyport as well. While preliminary work is underway on the project, construction is slated to begin early this fall. MassDOT officials expect the project to be completed in late 2016.
It’s good to see other modes getting more attention. I’m not opposed to cars, but our infrastructure in many locations should be more accommodating toward other modes of getting around.