Last Thursday, town and state officials officially dedicated the Belle Isle Bridge to mark the end of the two and a half year $4.3 million project to replace the former aging bridge.
Physical work to reconstruct the City of Boston owned Belle Isle Bridge on Saratoga Street began on May 11, 2011 by MassDOT with MIG Corporation as the designated contractor. The bridge has historically carried Route 145 over the Belle Isle Marsh and into East Boston and is one of just two ways to access the Town of Winthrop.Â The majority of the traffic travels over this bridge and has hastened the deterioration of the old bridge.
â€œIâ€™m happy to be here for two reasons: first, to celebrate the completion of this critical bridge, and second, because this is example of the results of forming strong partnerships to achieve a common goal,â€ said MassDOT Highway Administrator, Frank DePaola.Â â€œWe all know how critical this bridge is to the folks in Winthrop.Â And we were glad to be able to join forces with the town of Winthrop and the city of Boston to address a long-standing need, and as well, leave behind a better finished product.â€
DePaola added that if youâ€™ve seen any orange barrels or construction signs in the past few years, you know that the Patrick Administration and the Legislature has made investment in our infrastructure a top priority.
â€œThis is because for decades, infrastructure was an afterthought.Â And communities like Winthrop who only have two ways get in and out of their town suffered as a result,â€ he said. â€œBut today, we view infrastructure in a completely new way and with the help of our strong partnerships, we stand here today on a brand new piece of infrastructure we can all take some ownership in and that we can all be proud of.â€
Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo echoed DePaolaâ€™s sentiment on the stateâ€™s investment on infrastructure.
â€œThis bridge project is an example of our commitment to improving the stateâ€™s aging infrastructure,â€ said DeLeo. â€œWe realize the importance of transportation in the Commonwealth and that is why we passed a transportation budget with $800 million for further transportation funding for roads and bridges and $300 million for cities and towns to make sure their roads and bridges are in good condition.â€
Senator Anthony Petruccelli said the completion of the project is a huge win for both East Boston and Winthrop.
â€œItâ€™s a huge project for theÂ people of East Boston and Winthrop and I want to thank all the officials in both neighborhoods for making the project run as smooth as possible with the amount of traffic disruptions that had to occur to get the projectÂ done,â€ said Petruccelli. â€œThis project now makes it easier for people in East Boston to do business in Winthrop and the people of Winthrop to do business in East Boston.
City Councilor Sal LaMattina welcomed the people of Winthrop to the Boston bridge.
â€œThis is exciting for both East Boston and Winthrop,â€ said LaMattina. â€œThis is a great project and one we have talked about for many years so I just want to take this opportunity to thank all those involved and welcome Winthrop to this beautiful bridge in East Boston.â€
Massport CEO Thomas Glynn said the bridge project was a great example of partnerships that addressed the needs and wants of two communities.
â€œI also want to thank John Vitagliano for his leadership on this project,â€ said Glynn. â€œEvery great project needs and great quarterback and for this project that was John Vitagliano. â€œThis was an important project for the safety of the people in both East Boston and Winthrop and in many ways the bridge serves as two gateways; one for East Boston and the other for Winthrop.â€
Petruccelli also thanked Vitagliano for his leadership.
â€œWhenever there was a change to traffic patterns or road configuration John (Vitagliano) was always there to update both communities like he did with the Chelsea Street Bridge Project,â€ said Petruccelli.
Vitagliano called the project an excellent example of the public sector working extremely well on behalf of the public.