Framingham’s Board of Selectmen was not pleased by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s apparent arbitrary decision to change the status of the Winter Street Bridge from a replacement project to one of repair.
Selectmen objected to MassDOT’s decision and voted to strongly request the state to come back to the board with a design and plan that addresses concerns the board had with a MassDOT plan brought forth last summer.
“I’m shocked to hear this,” said Selectman Laurie Lee. “I go back to the last statement made that night and it says the state will come back with a redesign.”
MassDOT in June had proposed the existing Winter Street Bridge be replaced with a modern designed span over the Sudbury River. Selectmen and neighbors of the bridge rejected the replacement design because it called for a roadway that was too wide and the proposed design did not take into account the historic significance of the existing bridge.
State Rep. Chris Walsh, who represents Framingham, scheduled a meeting in August where town officials and staff met with MassDOT representatives and reiterated the town’s concerns with the proposed design.
On Jan. 12, a project revision, from replace to repair, was approved by the MADOT Project Review Committee. MassDOT’s announcement reads in part, “The proposed project involves the repair of the existing double barrel arch bridge and the single span bridge carrying Winter Street over the Sudbury River in Framingham. The existing bridge width will remain the same. The horizontal and vertical alignments will remain essentially the same.”
“The final decision may be to repair the bridge,” said Selectman Dennis Giombetti. “But that’s a town decision not the state’s. I’m disappointed.”
MassDOT was clear in its June presentation that the Winter Street Bridge was and is safe for the current level of traffic. But if traffic increased or heavier trucks began using the bridge there could be the possibility of failure.
In other news, the Selectmen and the Library Trustees appointed Linda Broderick to fill a recently vacated seat for one year. She is a frequent user of the library and is director of training for an educational consulting firm called Architects For Learning.
“I have a life-long passion for literacy and learning,” said Broderick, a former elementary school teacher. “I see the library system as a gem in the community.”
George Brown and Dhruba Sen also sought the one-year appointment.
Brown is listed on the April 3 town election ballot and is one of five candidates vying for four Trustee seats. The other candidates are incumbents Maria Barry, Nancy Coville Wallace and Janet Harrington and Town meeting member Eric Doherty.
Editor's Note: Corrected Broderick's employment at 8:30 a.m.