The new Rockland Street bridge in Wellesley, which had been expected to open to cars today, will now have its completion delayed until early January so that National Grid can fix a gas main damaged over the summer.
The bridge is now open to pedestrians, whose temporary walkway was removed over the weekend.
The town has decided it makes more sense to let National Grid do its pipe work over the next week or so rather than opening, closing and re-opening the bridge to traffic. This should avoid confusion among drivers, according to Wellesley Police Lt. Jack Pilecki.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is pretty much finished with its part, other than paving the deck. National Grid will need to weld a section of steel pipe and X-ray it for good measure. The pipe had been capped at both ends following the original damage.
The bridge has been shut down since last January. Projected opening dates for the bridge have been moving targets, with original estimates for as early as this past September. Contractual and structural issues have contributed to the delays.
To put things in some perspective, the Rte. 9/16 Locke bridge took 7 years to complete.