City gets $500,000 grant to help restore stone bridge

FITCHBURG, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts city has received a $500,000 grant to help repair a roughly 170-year-old stone bridge that has become so weakened that it's dangerous for school buses and emergency vehicles to cross.

The Sentinel & Enterprise reports that the grant from the state Department of Transportation's Municipal Small Bridge Program was approved recently by Fitchburg city officials.

The Westminster Hill Road bridge was built in the 1850s.

City Commissioner of Public Works Nicolas Bosonetto says the bridge's current condition is severe because of the cracked stones in its archway and breast walls. He says there are several missing stones and the arch is becoming deformed.

He says repairing the bridge is "critical."

He says it needs to be fixed so firetrucks can respond more quickly to about 200 homes.

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Information from: Sentinel & Enterprise (Fitchburg, Mass.), http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com