A community liaison consultant hired by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) said on Tuesday that the long-awaited Belle Isle bridge replacement project is about one month behind due to an outstanding issue regarding the planned use of a large crane on the project, which the Federal Aviation Administration has objected to.
However, intense negotiations between the awarded vendor, the FAA and MassDot may have a resolution close at hand. MassDOT officials are hoping that the project will be able to get back on track, “shortly after the July 4th holiday.”
“The difficulty is that the original plan of the vendor called for the use of a really, very large crane on the project. But that was not acceptable to the FAA, because of the proximity of the project to the approach for Runway 4Right/22Left,” explained local resident and consultant John Vitagliano, who was hired as a community and business liaison for the project by MassDOT.
According to Vitagliano, the issue is the responsibility of the vendor, MIG Construction, to clear up.
“There have been a series of meetings over the past few weeks between the FAA and the contractor, to find a resolution and it is my understanding that there may be a resolution soon,” said Vitagliano. “I’ve been told that the contractor will probably be going back to MassDOT in the next week or so with a new plan that will be acceptable and hopefully that will mean that the project can back on track.”
The construction project was originally expected to begin about one month ago, with the contractor and MassDOT closing one side of the bridge at a time and allowing two-way traffic on the other half of the bridge while demolition and reconstruction takes place.
The plan called for a two-year timeframe for complete replacement of the existing bridge spanning Belle Isle Creek.
“Hopefully, the contractor can get a new plan for demolition approved in the next week or so and the project can begin shortly after the July 4th holiday,” said Vitagliano, who was primarily hired to coordinate community and business issues along Main Street/Saratoga Street during the bridge construction.
“I’ve been meeting with the businesses along that section of the street as well as the local public safety departments, police, fire and public works to make sure that all of those issues are addressed as the construction project progresses,” he said.
Attempts to contact MIG Construction principal Larry Gordon were unsuccessful.