Lagoon Pond Bridge detour tonight

The new temporary Lagoon Pond drawbridge is scheduled to close to traffic from 8 pm this evening until 6 am Friday morning. Engineers will attempt to repair problems that have caused the bridge to malfunction in recent weeks.

Engineers from Pihl, the contractor that assembled the bridge, and ACROW Corporation, the company that manufactured the bridge, have been meeting with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (DOT) to identify the problem. The engineers think the problems are caused when the metal bridge expands in warmer weather. The 1930′s era drawbridge that was just demolished was also plagued with problems caused by expanding metal.

“It does sound very reminiscent of our previous problem,” Melinda Loberg, chairman of the Lagoon Pond Drawbridge Committee, said in a telephone call Tuesday. “After the last couple of times when they had glitches, they had a big evaluation session with Pihl and ACROW. They developed a recomendation and gave it to the DOT. It had to do with creating a larger gap between the movable part of the bridge, and the part where it meets the road. They are going to undo a segment and move it toward Oak Bluffs about half an inch.”

Not all vehicles will need to detour. Ms. Loberg said emergency vehicles will be able to cross the bridge if necessary.

The $9.3 million temporary bridge opened in January. Construction of a permanent bridge, at a projected cost of $35.7 million, is scheduled to begin later this year.