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May 09. 2013 10:17PM

Wire Road bridge opens two months ahead of schedule

MERRIMACK - Construction of a new bridge on Wire Road has been completed, and the roadway is now reopened to motorists following a six-month closure.

"It could not have been a better project. It was pretty smooth," said Rick Seymour, director of the Merrimack Public Works Department.

Work began last November on the Wire Road Bridge over Baboosic Brook, which is located at Bryant Circle near the Bedford town line.

The $1 million project replaced a 17-foot corrugated metal pipe bridge with a 62-foot precast concrete bridge, according to Seymour.

"It is a lot wider now," he said.

The profile of Wire Road was raised to prevent flooding during heavy rain, which has forced Wire Road to shut down on several previous occasions.

"Four or five years ago we had some overtopping when the water went right over the bridge," said Seymour, adding the new bridge is designed to accommodate a major flooding event.

The previous, smaller bridge was built in 1980. The town has been removing some of the older, corrugated metal arch bridges within the community, replacing them with concrete structures.

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

The contractor, R.M. Piper Inc. of Plymouth, had until July to complete the work on Wire Road.

"They were well ahead of schedule," Seymour said this week, noting the road reopened to motorists on Wednesday morning. "Everybody is going to be happy about that."

In addition to completing the project early, the new bridge also remained on budget, according to Seymour.

Although a detour had been set up, motorists were encouraged to avoid the Wire Road area whenever possible. Crews worked throughout the winter months to complete the construction early.

The project is part of the state Department of Transportation's bridge aid program, which means the town is paying for 20 percent of the project's total cost, and the remaining 80 percent is funded by the state.

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