Accelerated Bridge Program
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about the projectsPROJECT OVERVIEW

The Kenneth F. Burns Memorial Bridge carries Route 9 over Lake Quinsigamond. The new bridge will be the fifth at this location, the first being a floating bridge that consisted of logs chained together to carry the wagons and stage coaches on the Boston-Worcester Turnpike. The former concrete deck arch bridge dated to 1916 and was reconfigured several times in the past 96 years. Based on a 2009 study by MassDOT, it was determined that the old structure had reached the end of its useful lifespan and had to be replaced. The new replacement bridge, currently under construction and partially in service today, will cost approximately $89 million.

The current project provides MassDOT with an opportunity to not only replace a structurally deficient bridge, but also to correct a number of problems associated with the old span and the abutting areas.

  • Formerly, the bridge provided two eastbound and two westbound travel lanes. Narrow shoulders did not permit the passage of emergency vehicles during heavy traffic or offer acceptable bicycle accommodations. The four lane cross section wais one lane narrower than the abutting sections of Route 9 on both sides of the Lake. Westbound left turns were not permitted at Route 9/Lake Avenue requiring vehicles to make a right turn onto Lake Avenue and reverse direction using a U-turn.
  • Bridge sidewalks were narrow and did not offer a good vantage point for watching sailing and rowing races.
  • The height and width of the old center arch prevented sailboats from accessing both sides of Lake Quinsigamond and due to the dense concrete construction of the old bridge; passing beneath the span felt dark and confined.
  • The island viaduct blocked water from flowing past Ramshorn Island creating a pool of stagnant water trapped between the island and the lake's shore near Lincoln Park Towers.
  • Stormwater discharged directly from the bridge into the Lake to the detriment of water quality.

The replacement bridge will address these deficiencies as follows:

  • A wider profile with three east and westbound travel lanes for vehicles with bicycle- accommodating shoulders on both the left and right side.
  • New ADA accommodating sidewalks on both sides of the bridge with "bump-outs" over each pier featuring seating for regatta viewers and anyone looking to enjoy the Lake.
  • A westbound right turn lane at the intersection of Route 9 and Lake Avenue to accommodate motorists traveling to UMass and points north from the east.
  • A westbound left turn lane at the intersection of Route 9 and Lake Avenue to accommodate motorists traveling to Lincoln Park Towers and points south from the east. This will eliminate the current need to make a U-turn on Lake Avenue north of the intersection.
  • The complete reconstruction of the intersection and installation of new traffic signal equipment will allow for an improved alignment approaching the bridge, safe pedestrian accommodations, improved bicycle accommodations and improved levels of service for vehicular traffic.
  • A more open steel construction and an open median between the east and westbound lanes of the bridge will allow light and air under the structure. The central arch of the new bridge will be 240 feet width and provide clearance of 23'6" of vertical clearance across a 50-foot envelope under the main arch providing a much more comfortable experience for boaters, especially those in sailboats.
  • Stormwater that falls on the bridge and portions of the intersections abutting it will be captured and treated before discharge to the Lake. Ramshorn Island will be fully disconnected from the bridge removing the currently stagnant area.

Dimensions of the New Bridge

The replacement bridge will be a 5-span steel deck arch bridge and approximately 870 feet from end to end. It will be approximately 143 feet wide. This includes the eastbound lanes and sidewalk or "barrel" which will be 59 feet wide, the 19-foot open median, and the westbound barrel which will be 63 feet. The slight discrepancy between the eastbound and westbound sides is the result of the need to accommodate a minimum of two lanes and a sidewalk in each direction during the first phase of construction. This type was selected based on stakeholder input from the public involvement process to date, the ability to minimize environmental and right-of-way impacts, the ability to use accelerated construction techniques, lower construction and life-cycle costs, bridge aesthetics, and ease of construction staging.

Involving the Public

MassDOT and its design/build team are committed to the meaningful, effective public involvement of abutters, boaters, local institutions and commuters. As the project continues through construction, the community can expect updates regarding major construction milestones via this website, local media, public information meetings or targeted briefings, MassDOT social media and email bursts. If you have questions, concerns please contact us. We also invite you to add your name to the stakeholder database through our online subscription tool.

Accommodating All Users During Construction

MassDOT understands the importance of the Burns Bridge to the Worcester/Shrewsbury area. Throughout construction, two east and westbound lanes and all turning movements available with the old bridge will be maintained during peak hours to ensure the flow of traffic is maintained. Any reductions in capacity on the bridge will take place during off-peak hours and with adequate advanced notice through this website and other outlets as outlined above. MassDOT is also aware of the local bus connections across the bridge and will ensure that buses continue to be able to run on schedule. Access to adjacent businesses will be accommodated at all times during construction. We invite you to visit the websites of the Worcester Chamber of Commerce and Lakeway Business Association to see the many businesses that will remain open throughout construction.

The bridge plays an important role for local pedestrians, particularly in crossing from homes on the Worcester side of the lake to shopping and dining amenities in Shrewsbury. MassDOT will maintain pedestrian access on at least one side of the bridge at all times during construction. For temporary pedestrian detours to either side of the bridge, MassDOT will provide safe pedestrian access at all times in compliance with American with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. MassDOT is also well aware of Lake Quinsigamond's importance in terms of sailing and rowing regattas and other boating uses. The agency will continue to coordinate with the Lake Quinsigamond Commission, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and other users of the lake to ensure the minimum level of disruption possible during construction. A minimum of 50' horizontal clear opening under the bridge for other boating uses and rowing events will be maintained throughout construction.

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