NEW BEDFORD — A massive project to reconstruct the I-195 superstructure, including the bridge and ramps over the Route 18 interchange in New Bedford, is expected to kick off next year — and it will cost more than $111 million.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation estimates the New Bedford "superstructure replacement" project will begin in the autumn of 2023.

Its estimated total contract cost is just over $111,602,000, according to MassDOT.

The "superstructure" in question is the bridge and ramp system that currently carries Interstate 195 over Route 18, the Mass Coastal railroad, and County, Purchase, State and Weld streets.

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The system being replaced includes a 1,350 feet long viaduct with 15 bridge spans and multiple ramps and ramp bridges.

Construction is set to begin in the fall of 2023, according to MassDOT.

The project is one of 146 bridge repair projects announced by the state as part of a $3 billion infrastructure plan that will see bridges replaced across Massachusetts over the next five years.

Repairs will be funded through President Biden's infrastructure law and with $1.25 billion from a bridge program approved in a transportation bill last year.

It is unclear how long construction is expected to last, but the project is a massive undertaking.



According to MassDOT, the interstate roadway will be widened 24 to 30 feet to accommodate all four lanes of traffic during construction.

The project includes widening the westbound section between the Route 18 on- and off-ramps, and the on-ramp will be lengthened to provide more space to merge.

The current 15-span bridge will be replaced with an eight-span steel girder bridge and two simple span steel stringer bridges.

Five remaining spans will be replaced with highway embankments built up with modular gravity walls.

Two multi-span ramp bridges are also set to be replaced.

These include ramps from 195 in both directions to Route 18 south — which will be replaced by gravity wall embankments — and the ramp bridge over Weld Street, which will be replaced with a simple span steel girder bridge.

Upgrades and repairs will be made to some existing piers and peripheral structures, portions of which will be reused in the new bridges.

Around 2,000 feet of the approach to the bridges will be reconstructed as well, according to MassDOT.

The project also involves relocating utilities like gas, electric, sewer, water, and communications utilities as well as the underground Cooper Brook culvert, along with improving stormwater drainage systems.

Money for the project will come through the 2023 Transportation Improvement Program for the Southeastern Massachusetts Metropolitan Planning Organization.

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