Accelerated Bridge Program Completes First Project Under Budget and On-Time

By Richard Nangle, Mass Highway
CIM Construction Journal
The project to repair the Edgell Road/Main Street bridge over Route 9 in Framingham is the first under the Patrick Administration’s historic eight-year, $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program to be completed. Coming in on-schedule and under-budget, the project sets the right tone for the ABP which has high expectations and a goal of bringing in 90% of the projects on-time and on-budget. Mass-Highway credits the hard work and efficiency of the contractor, E.T. &L. for the successful result.

The Accelerated Bridge Program is a collaborative effort between MassHighway and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to innovate and speed up project delivery statewide. The agencies are partnering with industry to meet the aggressive goals established by Governor Patrick and the Legislature. In addition to on-time and on-budget project delivery, the ABP will be a laboratory of innovation – using accelerated construction techniques and contracting methods to streamline project delivery, but on this project it was good old-fashioned hard work and teamwork that carried the day.

The Edgell Road/Main Street over Route 9 project was advertised on August 16, 2008 and the project was assigned a completion date of May 20, 2009. It was originally estimated at $766,000. E.T. &L. Corp. of Stow was the successful bidder at $610,000 for the project, and thanks to their hard work and efficiency, E.T. &L. completed it for about $475,000.

MassHighway District 3 is credited as the first to bring in an ABP bridge ahead of time and under-budget by working together with E.T. &L. on the Framingham project. The Route 9 project involved jacking the superstructure to replace elastomeric bearings and installing bearing keeper plates; removing and patching/repairing deteriorated areas of the diaphragms and concrete beams near the bearings; removing and patching/repairing deteriorated areas of the concrete pier and abutments; and repairing concrete cracks at the pier, abutments and diaphragms. The superstructure was rated at 4 out of a possible 10, meaning it was structurally deficient. The project removed the deficiencies, improved the overall health of the bridge and was completed on-time and under-budget.

As of mid-May 2009, $317 million of Accelerated Bridge Program projects had been advertised – a total of 56 construction projects. The MassHighway projects include both site specific bridges and corridor preservation projects. DCR had advertised 11 projects. To date, 41 MassHighway projects had received Notices to Proceed and all 45 advertised projects have had bid openings.

The Accelerated Bridge Program was conceived with the promise to do things differently, to both innovate and reduce project schedule time, to offer design/build contracts and create a model for how to build safe bridges faster while reducing the cost. Many of the projects will use pre-cast, pre-engineered, pre-fabricated components to expedite construction and reduce interruption to people and commerce. New contracting techniques will come with financial incentives for delivering projects ahead of schedule and penalties for late completion. Bundled projects will allow for single-phase construction. All efficiencies will be transferred to the ongoing Statewide Road and Bridge Program. Monthly meetings with CIM and ACEC are meant to engage all participants responsible for meeting program goals. A website has been created at with a list of projects, explanation of project controls and opportunity for feedback.