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Construction on Easthampton’s Manhan Bridge Begins

photo(99)EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) –The construction wasn’t a surprise to James Giordano-Lanza,he knew it was coming.

Hearing crews banging around gave him a stark reminder about it this morning. “It actually woke me up quite disturbingly. I was not very pleased trying to sleep in on my day off,” he said.

Giordano-Lanza lives right on top of Easthampton’s Manhan Bridge, which serves as part of Route 10 that connects Main St. to Northampton St.

On the first day of the bridge’s closure, some drivers seemed a little bewildered about how to get around it. “The people from out of town and out of state seem to be getting confused, mostly. I can understand how people can get confused. It’s not that bad,” said Officer Robert Pouska.

Detour signs pointing in two directions, to Pleasant St. or Glendale St.

Originally built in 1951, more that 22,000 cars driving over it every day has weakened the structure. Now crews are moving hastily to replace the concrete deck and support beams, so it can reopen by December.

However, the foot bridge will remain open for the next 6 months. Along with the construction, it’s something that Tru Beer owner Sam Braudis says might actually help his business. “I think we got some newer customers just because they were sitting in traffic and saw our sign. We have a pretty solid customer base, and that they will theoretically come in more often to support us,” he said.

The Chamber of Commerce is pitching in to make sure businesses don’t suffer from effects construction could have.  “We have a text messaging system that our members or public can subscribe to, we also have a bridge construction newsletter we regularly put out,” added Executive Director Eric Snyder.

As an incentive, MassDOT says that if the bridge opens ahead of schedule, the contractor can get up to $100,500. If construction falls behind, they can face a penalty of $3500 per day, up to $100,500.

If you want to get updates, just text “MANHAN” to 96362.

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