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Outside help for Salem bridge work

SALEM - The town of Salem will be reimbursed $96,146.77 in state and federal construction aid funds for costs related to the ongoing replacement of bridges on South Policy Street and Lawrence Road.

During Monday night's Board of Selectmen meeting, the board voted unanimously to accept $82,765.86 for the South Police Street bridge over Porcupine Brook project and $13,380.91 for the Lawrence Road bridge over the Spicket River project.

The reimbursement funds will be distributed through the state's Bridge Aid and Federal Aid Highway programs.

Town Manager Keith Hickey said the most recent funding reimbursement would be the eighth for each of the two projects, though he's expecting a ninth installment will be needed for the first project. The town of Salem has already received more than $1.4 million in state and federal funds for the South Policy Street bridge project, according to Hickey. Last summer, workers began the process of installing a new, precast concrete frame over Porcupine Brook, which replaced the heavily deteriorated original structure that had been built in 1935. The project is being executed through the state Municipally Managed Bridge Program, meaning the town is eligible to receive 80 percent reimbursement of replacement costs.

Hickey said the most recent installment would cover the costs of the Spicket River bridge. To date, the town has already received $150,000 in state and federal grants toward the project.

Replacement of the old Lawrence Road bridge began in spring 2010 after the dilapidated structure was added to the state Department of Transportation's red list of bridges in need of immediate attention. Federal funds for the project have already been received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and with this week's most recent reimbursement installment from the state DOT, the town has been reimbursed 100 percent of the replacement costs.

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April Guilmet may be reached at AGuilmet@newstote.com.

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