The state of Massachusetts will replace a 40-year-old bridge, called the Rourke Bridge, in the city of Lowell with a $190 million permanent structure. The Rourke Bridge was built over the Merrimack River as a temporary solution and has reached the end of its useful service life.
Carrying approximately 27,000 vehicles across each day, the bridge’s vehicle capacity no longer meets demand. In addition, the structure fails to meet multimodal mobility and ADA standards, and the supporting substructure is deteriorating. Construction is expected to begin summer 2025.
The replacement bridge will feature two north- and southbound lanes in both directions over the river. The design emphasizes safety and mobility for multimodal traffic, including protected bike lanes and pedestrian sidewalks along each side of the bridge. The state will install lighting for the roadway, pier and bridge underside. In addition, the project will accommodate water traffic by providing nine 50-foot-wide right-of-way lanes.
The state will reconfigure connecting roads to accommodate the wider replacement bridge, reconstructing intersections to the north and south to include more travel and turn lanes. Other planned improvements include installing shared use paths, sidewalks, bike paths, roadside buffers, concrete medians, crosswalks and landscaping.
The project will build the replacement Rourke Bridge to the immediate east of the existing structure. The current bridge will remain operational while the replacement project is underway. Lowell is about 30 miles north of Boston near the New Hampshire border.
Photo courtesy of the state of Massachusetts.