District 1 Director Francesca Heming reviews the long road to get to Friday's bridge opening.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The town marked the completion of Narragansett Avenue Bridge with a ribbon cutting on Friday morning.
But perhaps the most important person in the project wasn't there to share in the celebration.
It was the late state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi who had ushered through the bill that would allow construction to begin on a project first raised back in 2002.
All who spoke Friday, which also happened to be Cariddi's birthday, thanked her for her efforts.
"While I am here as the state representative it is only to carry on her legacy and the work that she was able to get done for towns like Lanesborough," state Rep. John Barrett III said. "I think as legislators more than anything else we are conduits of getting things done."
Barrett was among the town and state officials who attended the official opening on the bridge that is not only critical for access but an important recreational connector for fishers, kayakers, and pedestrians.
"Today celebrates the completion of a project that makes a gorgeous spot even better," state Department of Transportation District 1 Director Francisca Heming said. "We improved accommodations for pedestrians, cyclists, and everyone who enjoys this place hopefully now with a little more room to share."
Cariddi re-submitted the bill in the next session and it was in the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, waiting to be passed out of committee, at the time of her death in 2017.
State Sen. Adam Hinds also thanked Cariddi and said the entire project was a great partnership between the state, MassDOT, and the town.
"What I love about this bridge is that it demonstrates the link between the local effort and the state effort," he said. "The select board realized that this was a problem and the cost would be out of range."
He added that he was happy that the bridge was not only maintained but improved.
"You have fishermen, you have our bikers, you have walkers on this bridge and you can tell just by looking at it that it was preserved very well," he said.
Neal Maxymillian, president of J.H. Maxymillian Inc., said he was happy how the bridge came out and thanked his crew along with that of MassDOT.
He said the project had its challenges.
"You look out at this bridge and what you don't realize is that there are 200 piles going down 90 feet and that was one of the many challenges of the job," he said. "And we think it's cold standing out here today imagine being out there in the winter."
He added that 10 to 15 people were employed during the two-year construction period.
Patrick Carnevale from Gov. Charlie Baker's Western Massachusetts office applauded MassDOT District 1 for its responsiveness. He added that there are other important projects in the pipeline.
He also spoke to an $18 billion bond bill that, if passed, will address even more projects.
"It's for roads, infrastructure, and bridges and hopefully we can get that through because we all know there are roads and bridges that are in deep need," he said.
Selectman John Goerlach was last to speak and simply expressed his thanks.
"It turned out to be an excellent job," he said. "I thank everyone here today who made today a special day."
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