Work on bridge between Nashua, Merrimack begins

A roughly $2 million project to replace the Manchester Street Bridge between Nashua and Merrimack started this week, closing the crossing over Pennichuck Brook for at least the next year.

Work started Monday to install a new bridge with a sidewalk, wider design and improved drainage. The project is largely being funded by the state, and is expected to wrap up in 2015.

Replacing the bridge has been on the city’s agenda since at least 2003. The planning process was delayed over the years in part because of funding concerns on Merrimack’s end. State wildlife officials also have been monitoring the fate of bald eagles nesting in the area.

An engineering analysis previously determined the road is too narrow for the amount of traffic that crosses Manchester Street. The bridge also has been “red-listed” by the state, meaning the need to replace it is critical because of deterioration.

Both communities gave the green light to the project earlier this year, choosing to award a $1.97 million contract for the construction work to R.S. Audley, of Bow. CLD Consulting Engineers, of Manchester, was picked for the engineering work, winning a $262,992 contract.

The project will be managed at the municipal level, with 80 percent of the funds coming from the state Department of Transportation and the remaining 20 percent coming from the two communities. Nashua will pick up 15 percent of the cost and Merrimack will fund 5 percent.

Jim Haddadin can be reached at 594-6589 or Also, follow Haddadin on Twitter