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Debate Over Cost For New Bridge Over Lake Quinsigamond Heating Up

By Diana Perez, WBZ-TV
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The Kenneth Burns Memorial Bridge needs to be replaced. Which type of bridge will officials choose?

The Kenneth Burns Memorial Bridge needs to be replaced. Which type of bridge will officials choose?

SHREWSBURY (CBS) – It’s low, damaged and old. There’s no question the Kenneth Burns Memorial Bridge over Lake Quinsigamond has to come down. The question is what will replace it?

The State Department of Transportation wants to build a deck arch bridge with several arches into the water, similar to the one there now.

The issue for some locals is that only low motor boats can get under the existing bridge, leaving sailboats on the other side of the lake.

“A lot of people don’t realize in this argument is that two-thirds of the lake is actually south of the bridge. So this end gets very congested,” said John Mullaney, the Executive Director of the Worcester Regatta.

WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez reports.

It’s very congested and dangerous because sail boats and rowers have to share the smaller end of the lake and that’s why local lawmakers want a through arch bridge instead. It would sit higher off the water and include just one large arch with two columns in the water.

“It will allow for the larger, tall masks to pass through the bridge,” explains Republican State Representative for Shrewsbury Matthew Beaton.

At the other end of the lake though, fisherman Leonard Tessier is siding with the state’s plan. He doesn’t mind keeping sailors and rowers one on side.

“It really upsets a lot of fisherman because you can’t take your turns you can’t fish where you want,” said Tessier.

But, the disagreements aren’t just about who gets to use which side of the lake, cost is being debated too.

The state DOT says the deck arch bridge would cost $140 million. The through arch bridge would cost $188 million. That’s a $48 million difference.

But Rep. Beaton says when the state factors in that about 80% of it will be paid by the federal government; the true “I don’t want to waste money if we don’t have but i also want to make sure that if we’re doing a bridge that we do it right,” said Rep. Beaton.

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