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We’re one step closer to finishing the Belden Bly Bridge on the Lynn-Saugus line

Saugus, Ma. 3-1-19. The Belden Bly Bridge. (Owen O'Rourke)

SAUGUS — Mariners were asked by the Coast Guard to comment on the placement of a bridge protection system and other navigational safety issues associated with new infrastructure to replace the Belden Bly Bridge.

The deadline to provide the feedback was Thursday, but by deadline, no comments had been received, according to Jeffrey Stieb, bridge management specialist for the First Coast Guard District.

The Coast Guard requested that boat owners provide information about their vessels, including type of vessel, length, draft, beam, and height from the waterline to the highest fixed point and to appurtenant structures like tuna towers, flying bridge, fixed antennas, and radar units.

“If someone submits a comment after the comment period, we will certainly consider it,” said Stieb. “We won’t just ignore it.”

The Coast Guard received an application for the project from the state Department of Transportation to replace the existing temporary bridge with a new, permanent bascule bridge on the alignment of the 1912 bridge.

The new bridge will provide two lanes in each direction, a 6 ½-foot sidewalk for pedestrians, and a 6-foot shoulder for bicyclists on each side of the roadway.

The anticipated date of the removal of the temporary bridge is May 2022.

MassDOT has conducted maintenance on a regular basis and has plans to replace the drawbridge.

Construction is expected to begin in this spring.

It is expected to be funded through the 2019 Transportation Improvement Program for the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization and is estimated to cost $81.3 million, according to Mass.gov.

At a 2016 hearing, project manager Paul King said construction was expected to last about 3 ½ years.

The project will include constructing the replacement for the previously removed permanent drawbridge. Portions of Route 107 at each bridge approach and at the Ballard Street intersection will be reconstructed.

A temporary drawbridge was constructed beside the original 1913 Belden Bly Bridge to allow one lane of traffic to run in each direction between Western Avenue in Lynn and Route 107 in Saugus while it was demolished.

The proposal is for the temporary bridge, which was completed in 2013, to be removed. The existing water main would be replaced along the approaches and beneath the river. Sidewalks and a bicycle lane would be added to both sides of Route 107.

According to the proposal, the marine channel would be widened from 40 feet to 50 feet and the bridge would be elevated one additional foot.

Also in the proposal was the addition of vehicle turning lanes at the intersection of Ballard Street and Route 107. The intersection delay is expected to be reduced by more than 50 percent during peak morning and evening hours.

Comments should be sent to the office of the Commander (dpb), First Coast Guard District, Battery Park Building, 1 South Street, New York, NY 10004-1466.

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