Western Mass News investigates a deteriorating bridge in Holyoke that has damaged cars that go over it.
Drivers are fed up and want to see it replaced.
That's when we stepped in to ask the tough questions.
"This bridge here is absolutely abysmal," said Peter Cassebeer of Taft Power Equipment.
Craggy and crumbling, the Lyman Street bridge in Holyoke has become a headache for drivers. Vehicles have to cautiously make their way in a broken cadence over the potholes.
"Huge potholes in it, really affects all our customers, our work trucks here, and our trailers," Cassebeer added.
Cassebeer said that the bridge has been a problem they can't afford not to speak up about.
"We've had to replace tires. It's affected our steering. It's really destroyed our trailers. We have to weld them almost weekly in order to keep them in good condition to run this route," Cassebeer explained.
The bridge has been deemed by the state as structurally deficient.
"You see the cars...they're rocking and rolling," said George Barsalou of Holyoke.
Drivers we talked to said that the road has been neglected for years and has slowly deteriorated to its current condition. They noted that crews occasionally come out to patch it, but it's just a band-aid and not a permanent fix.
"Sooner or later, they're going to have to repair it because someone is going to fall through," Cassebeer said.
There has been some remedial work this week, but since the bridge is state owned, the city of Holyoke is not responsible for maintenance.
"Many, many people come across that bridge to come over here and do work with us and we get complaints all day long about it," Cassebeer added.
There is some good news: there are plans to replace the bridge.
However, there is also some bad news. MassDOT isn't even going to accept construction bids until August 2018.
How could a bridge only a couple hundred feet long in this condition be left like this?
"We pay money in taxes. I would like to see our roads up-to-date," said Chad Coderre, who works in Holyoke.
We reached out to MassDOT to try to find out what the hold up was. We didn't immediately get answers, so we headed to the MassDOT headquarters in Boston.
While we made it through security, we were told that no one was available to speak with us.
However, we kept pushing for answers.
MassDOT told us that "the decision to perform a complete structural replacement of the bridge was made in November 2000 based on the condition of the abutments and piers."
They continued that "MassDOT must prioritize projects. As of April 1, 2016, there were 460 structurally deficient bridges across the Commonwealth, three of which are in Holyoke."
While the state must tackle many different projects, the drivers we spoke with said that they want this to be the state's priority.
"It's just not structurally sound, period," said Josh Bernacchia of Holyoke.
The other two Holyoke bridges that were deemed structurally deficient are both on Appleton Street.
Copyright 2016 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.