The Town of Easton was awarded $450,000 from the Municipal Small Bridge Program for the South Street culvert at a ceremony held at the Massachusetts State House on March 29, 2017. David Field, Director of Public Works stated “We are very excited to have received this funding to replace the South Street culvert which experienced a partial collapse and was subsequently closed in May of 2016. Without these funds it would have been very difficult to find the resources to replace this culvert and reopen this roadway.”
The Municipal Small Bridge Program, signed into law on August 10, 2016 by Governor Baker, is a several-year $50 million program to aid in the replacement and preservation of municipally-owned small bridges which are not eligible for federal aid under existing bridge replacement or rehabilitation programs, and are at high risk for full or partial closure in the near future due to their present conditions. Connor Read, Acting Town Administrator, noted “state grant funding from programs like this provide a fantastic opportunity for us to improve our assets and complete repairs that may have otherwise been impossible.” Absent these grant funds, South Street would remain closed for several years.
As part of the application filed by the Easton DPW in October 2016, the Town hired Gill Engineering Associates, Inc. of Needham, MA to perform a complete engineering assessment of the culvert. Their findings corroborated those of the Easton DPW, and recommended closure of South Street until the culvert could be repaired.
The Municipal Small Bridge Program is a needs and merit-based program funding applications that demonstrate critical need or substantially extend the life of an existing small bridge. Projects are evaluated according to a strict set of eligibility criteria that consider the condition, benefits, and repair status of each bridge. Kevin McIntyre, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, expressed his gratitude to Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack and Highway Administrator Thomas Tinlin for the award, and thanked Senators Walter Timilty and Michael Brady and Representatives Claire Cronin and Shaunna O’Connell for their support. McIntyre also thanked Easton DPW for their efforts in securing these critical grant funds.