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Rockland Street Bridge opening in Wellesley delayed by gas main repairs, won't open until January

Posted by Evan Allen  December 17, 2012 03:47 PM

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The long-awaited opening of Rockland Street Bridge has been delayed again – this time, because National Grid must repair a gas main that construction crews hit while drilling over the summer, according to Wellesley Police.

The bridge, which has been closed since January, was supposed to open today, said Wellesley Police Lieutenant Jack Pilecki. The bridge itself is complete, but Pilecki said work on the gas main has to be finished before the weather gets too cold. Since the work will block traffic on the bridge, officials decided to delay the opening altogether.

National Grid crews will begin working on Tuesday, said Pilecki, and will work Monday through Saturday until the pipe is fixed.

The Rockland Street Bridge will likely open the first week in January, said Pilecki.

“The bridge is ready to open today,” said Massachusetts Department of Transportation spokesman Michael Verseckes. “The town of Wellesley has requested that we keep the bridge closed for the utility to complete some gas work.”

The Rockland Street Bridge project has been a major headache for Wellesley residents. When construction began, work was expected to be complete in the early fall. However, the original plans for the bridge, which was built in the early 1900s, did not show the true size of the abutments, and construction was delayed because those abutments did not meet today’s design standards.

The price tag for the project – originally estimated at $1.6 million – has been pushed to $2.3 million, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com

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