With the threat of reducing multiple public transit routes on the South Shore, residents fear now is not the time to replace the Fore River Bridge which connects Weymouth to Quincy along Route 3A.
The Mass Department of Transportation unveiled 25% of their design plan to residents Thursday night and explained the current bridge will remain open but traffic will be temporarily interrupted in the second phase of construction.
Weymouth Mayor Sue Kay projects traffic build-up will be worse than MassDOT imagines, “The proposal to reduce the bridge to two lanes, can you imagine, of traffic during a four month period is unacceptable.”
North Weymouth resident Becky Haugh added that traffic will continue to worsen from Hingham and Hull to Quincy if MBTA cuts are approved, “If the ferries do get eliminated, that’s 3,500 people a day who take those ferries and a good portion of them will either have to drive to Quincy T Center to pick up the T or drive to Boston.”
MassDOT was also criticized for choosing a vertical lift bridge rather than a traditional bascule, drawbridge. The proposed bridge includes two 300-foot structures to sit on either side of the middle section which rises in the motion of an elevator.
Weymouth State Representative James Murphy stated no one requested a vertical lift bridge but a bascule was requested, “I would like to formerly request that you put, temporarily, a pause to the project until we can have a meeting amongst all the elected officials, city councilors, the mayors’ offices, until we can at least be explained to why we took the other option off the board.”
U.S Congressman Stephen Lynch, whose district will soon include Weymouth and Quincy, spoke at the public hearing also in opposition of the Fore River Bridge design. MassDOT and the engineering firm STV believe a vertical lift bridge will cause less traffic delays when opened.
The $285 million structure is being federally and state funded under Governor Patrick’s Accelerated Bridge Program.