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For Immediate Release: 09/20/2013
CONTACT: MassDOT Press Office: 857-368-8500

MassDOT Celebrates Completion of Route 18 Improvements in New Bedford

Infrastructure investments improve vehicle/pedestrian connections to Downtown/Waterfront

BOSTON – Friday, September 20, 2013 – Today, Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey and Highway Administrator Frank DePaola joined federal, state and local officials to celebrate the completion of improvements to Route 18 in the City of New Bedford.

“MassDOT is proud of its role to improve access to this historic and vibrant section of the city,” said Secretary Davey. “This investment offers residents, visitors, drivers and pedestrians alike, safe crossings and connections to attractions and businesses that will support the economy for years to come.”

“The completion of Route 18 will provide businesses and visitors to New Bedford with easier, more convenient access to our historic downtown area,” said Rep. Bill Keating, who represents New Bedford in Congress. “But this project does not just benefit that one neighbor – it will provide a necessary link with our harbor to the entire city, and will provide a direct boost to projects such as South Terminal.  I am proud that 80% of the funding for this project was federal.  Route 18 is a clear demonstration of the dividends that can be yielded by investing in infrastructure projects.”

MassDOT’s contractor A.A. Will Corp. is working on the final touches of the $12.5 million federally and state funded project that began two years ago.

The completion of Route 18 is a milestone. It shall be the zipper that reconnects our beautiful waterfront with our Downtown arts and cultural area,” said Senator Mark C. Montigny. “This project not only creates a signature gateway to our Downtown but will further stimulate smart economic development in the City’s vibrant arts and cultural district thus providing jobs and an improved quality of life to our entire region.”

“This project is the lynchpin for everything we are doing as a city to accelerate the economic revitalization of our downtown and our waterfront.  Without a strong partnership with the Patrick Administration, our efforts might well fall short, but with a strong state partnership anything is possible, as this project aptly demonstrates,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell.

MassDOT this week also announced a new Healthy Transportation Policy directive will ensure that all MassDOT projects going forward are designed and implemented in ways that provide safe, healthy transportation options. The completed Route 18 encompasses many of goals of the new directive.

“The end result is a multimodal facility with relevant aesthetic detail,” said Administrator DePaola. “Our highway division staff and our contractor took great care to ensure the historic character of the neighborhood was preserved in the new roadway design.” 

“Today we can celebrate reconnecting downtown New Bedford with our waterfront,” said Representative Antonio F.D. Cabral. “After advocating for this project for several years I was able to secure state matching funds. I want to thank Secretary Davey and Governor Patrick for their commitment to the Route 18 project and for so many other initiatives that have made new Bedford a walkable City that both residents and visitors can enjoy.”

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