For some people, the pedestrian bridge over the Charles River was a nice option to avoid crossing over one of the other bridges that often clog with traffic, but others rely on it.
Watertown resident David Caine told the Town Council at a recent meeting that his trip to the grocery story takes double the amount of time without the span.
“Up until February when I got my groceries I could cross the footbridge,” Caine said. “Now it is gone. I was told the new bridge was expected to be installed in November. Since then I was told it was delayed. I want to express my disappointment.”
A new bridge was planned by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) because the old bridge was not handicap accessible due to its steep slope, said DCR spokesman Troy Wall. It will cost an estimated $1.5 million.
Installation has been delayed a few times. In January 2017, DCR officials said it would likely be installed by the end of 2017 with final touches completed by the Spring of 2018.
In August, the DCR said the project was on schedule. Landings were built on either side of the river, just east of the Watertown Dam. As the end of 2017 approached the site looked much the way it did at the end of the summer. The bridge is now expected to be put in when the weather improves.
“The finalization and approval of designs slowed the progress of the bridge project; however, DCR’s contractor is currently completing the fabrication of the new bridge, which is expected to be delivered and installed in Spring 2018,” Wall said
Part of the delay was due to a switch in companies that are making the bridge, members of the Watertown Conservation Commission said in December. The Con Com oversees the area along the banks of the Charles River.
Construction of the new span is due to be completed and delivered by the Spring of 2018, Wall said. The bridge must be lifted into place using large cranes, which also led to some delays.
“Due to the need to place large cranes on both sides of the river to lift and set the pedestrian bridge, much of the bridge approach work could not be accommodated until after the winter season,” Wall said.
Once the bridge goes it, there will also be work on the bridge approach and landscaping in the area, Wall said.