Replace broken

Beverly’s broken bridges discussed at public meeting

BEVERLY, MA — North Shore residents who have been waiting for months for answers about the future of the Hall-Whitaker Bridge in Beverly might not like what they’re about to hear.

State transportation officials are expected to discuss the pros and cons of the various courses of action Tuesday night. But one aspect common to all seems to be years of continued disruption.

“The likely scenario is — from what I’m gleaning — that we’re looking at a decade or more of bridge work in the area,” State Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem) told Patch ahead of the town hall meeting. .

The meeting is scheduled for the Beverly High School auditorium at 6:30 p.m.

The problem is the logistics of replacing the Hall-Whitaker Bridge at the same time that the Kernwood Bridge also needs to be replaced. A state master plan last year called for the Kernwood to be replaced before the Hall-Whitaker, but the Hall-Whitaker being deemed deficient and closed a week later in June has forced a reassessment of priorities which will all need to be addressed. at one point. the relatively near future.

“A lot of people were upset that they weren’t notified of this closure,” Lovely said. “I hear from neighbors who are still quite upset. It’s impacted neighborhoods where traffic is through. There’s a school there.”

“There’s been quite an impact on this area. They’re cut off from the city centre.”

MassDOT said Hall-Whitaker and Kernwood Bridge’s concerns and potential remedies will be discussed Tuesday evening.

Mayor Mike Cahill said at the June town hall just after the bridge was closed to traffic that the hope was to get state officials back to discuss alternatives over the summer, but that has been extended until October.

Lovely said that although the Hall-Whitaker has been “pushed to the top of the list” of state DOT priorities, even building a temporary replacement for the Hall-Whitaker will be a lengthy process that could take years. .

“These bridges are under pretty heavy scrutiny and it was a surprise to MassDOT that Hall-Whitaker got to this so quickly,” Lovel said. “We’re hoping they’re going to present scenarios to the public (Tuesday night). They recognize that they need to keep the public informed.”

“We are looking for complete information.”

(Scott Souza is a Patch Editor covering Beverly, Danvers, Marblehead, Peabody, Salem and Swampscott. He can be reached at [email protected] Twitter: @Scott_Souza.)