Due to its location the Fisk Mill bridge is co-owned by the towns of Upton and Milford. Mass DOT’s inspection survey indicates that this infrastructure needs attention. The DOT’s 2015 Fisk Mill bridge field inspection reveals a number of deficiencies. The critical issues are declining bridge rails and a deteriorating bridge deck.
Despite its marginal rating the Fisk Mill bridge is deemed safe. This scenario gives both Upton and Milford officials time to research all applicable funding programs. Upton Selectman Fleming’s position that only Chapter 90 or town monies can be used for repairing or rebuilding the bridge is not accurate.
Although Bridge # M21005 (Fisk Mill) is registered as having a 22-foot span it may qualify for state funding under the Commonwealth’s recently sanctioned Municipal Bridge Program. This new program targets “BRI” bridges. BRI bridges have spans of 10-20 feet. A new bridge design could potentially categorize the Fisk Mill bridge span as being between 10 to 20 feet. Being designated a BRI bridge creates the possibility of being eligible for funding consideration under the new Municipal Bridge Program.
At minimum, Upton and Milford officials should pursue having the Fisk Mill bridge being placed on the “list of bridges” eligible for federal funding. If future DOT bridge inspections downgrades the Fisk Mill bridge status to being structurally unsafe, I recommend it be closed until federal funding is secured.
Town officials must be diligent when exploring alternative solutions. Deferring this bridge to only local taxes and Chapter 90 money is not appropriate.
William D. Montenegro