The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) in the US has awarded a $244.6m contract to the White-Skanska joint venture (JV) to replace the existing and temporary Fore River Bridge with a new vertical lift movable bridge.

The Fore River Bridge carries Route 3A over the river and connects the communities of Quincy and Weymouth.

The project aims to improve the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and maritime users, and the efficiency of the bridge.

MassDOT highway administrator Frank DePaola said the existing structure has served commuters well beyond its useful life.

"The new vertical lift moveable bridge will allow for two lanes of traffic in each direction and will incorporate our Complete Streets vision with five foot bikes lanes and six and a half foot sidewalks on each side."

The Federal Highway Administration is contributing 80% of the total project cost and the state department will provide the remaining 20%.

The currently used temporary bridge supports about 32,000 vehicles every week-day. It was built when the original bridge deteriorated beyond the scope of restoration.

MassDOT had marked the Fore River Bridge replacement project as one of five ‘mega projects’ to be completed under the Accelerated Bridge Program.