Chatham’s Mitchell Drawbridge Still Causing Problems

CHATHAM- Recent weather changes, including high heat and humidity, have caused headaches with the Mitchell River Draw Bridge in Chatham, which has had to close numerous times the past months.

“What has been happening is with the rain and presumably the humidity, is causing certain timber members to swell, and they have actually swelled beyond what the designers had originally anticipated,” said Chatham Coastal Resources Director Ted Keon.

This has left “the gaps that they have left in the bridge to take up the swelling, thus pushing the beams beyond their limits.”

The $14 million dollar structure, which was constructed back in 2016, has left work crews from SPS New England Inc and MassDOT having to trim multiple pieces in order to stop them from rubbing together.

The last repair project spanned over three days, leading to traffic delays in the area.

Keon is hopeful however that even though this situation is still unfolding, there should be less room for error since patch work to alleviate the problems have been consistently carried out.

“I think we are in pretty good shape for the rest of the summer. I don’t think the issues will affect the operations this season,” he said.

“Come the fall, I think the engineers are going to come back with what they think are some longer-term more permanent fixes.”

As for now, officials say that the structure is safe to travel over and that the state has given full backing to help fix any more issues that arrive, before fall hits.

By JOHN BONDAREK, CapeCod.Com News Center

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