NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — New Bedford is receiving funds that will help advance construction of infrastructure for the Blue Lane Working Waterfront Connector Project (BLWWC).

In a release on Tuesday, Mayor Jon Mitchell announced the city was awarded a $1.7 Million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grant from The U.S. Department of Transportation that will go towards infrastructure for the project.

“This planning grant will enable us to tie together various neighborhood improvement and economic development efforts,” Mitchell said. “I want to thank the Biden Administration and the Congressional delegation for making these resources available.”

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The BLWWC is a project centered on improving infrastructure on MacArthur Drive, Herman Melville Boulevard and North Front Street in the Port of New Bedford.

The improvements include replacement of water, sewer, and stormwater pipelines, new traffic signals, the construction of a shared-use pathway and the connection between the CoveWalk and HarborWalk pathways located at the New Bedford Hurricane barrier.

Additionally, the project would connect the roads to the planned RiverWalk pathway along the shoreline of the Acushnet River.

Director of City Planning, Jennifer Carloni said the project will help connect the waterfront to the rest of the city to create more economic opportunities.

“The BLWWC Projects aligns with the Planning Department’s ongoing waterfront planning, recognizing the significance of the City’s strategic port location to advance economic development,” Carloni said. “The proposed infrastructure planning supports a future vision of a waterfront that continues to represent New Bedford's rich history, supports industries of today and tomorrow, and broadens public access.”

The RAISE Program is a key component in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a $1 trillion bill signed into law by President Joe Biden in November 2021.

The program allocates grants towards rail, road and infrastructure projects that are deemed as national infrastructure initiatives by the U.S Department of Transportation.

U.S. Rep Bill Keating (D-MA) said the grant will help keep the Port of New Bedford clean and improve the city’s water quality, infrastructure, and economy.

He said the project makes major steps in addressing climate change by creating a walkable area so people do not have to use cars to get to their destination.

“New Bedford’s working waterfront is home to the top fishing port in the nation, the hub of the offshore wind industry, and is a top tourist destination in the region, and this RAISE grant will improve access to the waterfront for workers, residents, and tourists alike while taking cars off the road and improving water quality,” Keating said.

“In passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, President Biden promised to create jobs, modernize our infrastructure, and turn the climate crisis into an economic opportunity – and this RAISE grant for the BLWWC Project does just that," Keating said. "I commend the City of New Bedford for submitting this successful grant application that I was proud to support.”

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