Mitchell River Bridge Opening Ceremony Monday

By: Tim Wood

Topics: Bridges , Boating

An early May view view of the new Mitchell River Bridge as it neared completion. SPENCER KENNARD PHOTO

CHATHAM – It's being billed as “A walk back to the future – Chatham’s newest oldest wooden drawbridge.”

On Monday, June 20 at 4:30 p.m., a ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at the new Mitchell River Drawbridge. Underway for the past two years, the $14 million project was done under the direction of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) with funding through the Federal Accelerated Bridge Program.

The previous drawbridge represented a continuous line of wooden drawbridges that have spanned the Mitchell River for over 150 years. Thought to be the last remaining wooden drawbridge in the U.S., the previous bridge was deemed eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. An extensive design process was undertaken to ensure that the new replacement bridge would be context sensitive to the history and uniqueness of the bridge it replaces. This process included input from various local, state and federal agencies, municipal government representatives, as well as private citizens and other participants serving as consulting partners to reach a consensus of the final design. The resulting drawbridge retains a wooden superstructure atop a substructure of concrete caps and steel pilings.

The public is welcomed to participate in the ribbon cutting which will open the bridge to pedestrian use only; vehicular traffic will be allowed across the bridge beginning June 21. The ribbon cutting will take place on the western side of the bridge. Parking is available along Bridge Street.

The project will not be fully completed until the early fall but the bridge will be operational and open for public use throughout the summer.