Mass DOT to replace defective Mattapoisett bike path bridge panels

Nov 28, 2021

MATTAPOISETT — Better late than never.

The long-awaited Mattapoisett bike path is moving slowly towards completion but looks to still be at least a year away, according to town officials.

The delay comes after the project suffered another setback this summer when problems developed with the materials used to construct one of the bridges connecting Goodspeed Island to Mattapoisett Center.

The Mattapoisett Select Board said at a Nov. 23 meeting that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, who built the bridge and are responsible for correcting the issue, put forth a slate of options for the town to choose from on how to deal with the bridge.

The Select Board indicated that they were likely to accept a course of action that would see a similar but more traditional material installed to replace the current warped panels. The only difference is that the new panels would be about half as wide and twice as thick as before, according to Select Board Member Jordan Collyer.

The replacement would be made at no additional cost to the town, according to Collyer.

The bridge was built with composite panels made by gluing wooden boards together face-to-face to form three-foot-wide slabs about four inches thick, which began to cup significantly, form cracks between glued boards and create an uneven surface shortly after installation.

Town Administrator Mike Lorenco said that five new test panels would be installed in the coming weeks to “see how [the material] acclimates to the weather.”

When asked for a timeframe for the path’s eventual completion, Lorenco said that it was still difficult to say because plans will need to be reengineered and new parts ordered.

“I’d say 12 to 16 months, if I had to guess,” he said.