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John A. Weeks III
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
5th Street Nashua River Crossing At Fitchburg
Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge

• Bridge: Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
• Structure ID: NBI F04019ANLMHD634
• City: Fitchburg
• State: Massachusetts
• Country: USA
• Carries: 5th Street
• Crosses: Nashua River, Boston & Maine Railroad
• Date Opened: September 30, 2003
• Total Length: 657 Feet
• Longest Span: 357 Feet
• Tower Height: 275 Feet
• Deck Width: 45 Feet
• Number Of Lanes: 2
• Number Of Spans: 1
• Height Above Water: 80 Feet (Estimated)
• Traffic Count: 4,030 (2004)
The original 5th Street Bridge was a 6-span concrete arch structure built in 1912. It was neglected and deteriorated to such a bad state that it had to be closed in the 1990s. The engineering firm STV Inc. was engaged to rehabilitate the structure. However, after extensive testing, it was determined that the concrete arch bridge was in such bad shape that it was not practical to fix it. STV recommended a cable stayed bridge as a replacement in order to minimize the amount of highly contaminated soil that would need to be disturbed at the bridge site.

The 1912 bridge was demolished in 1997, and the new cable stayed bridge was built between 2001 and 2003. The new bridge features a pair of concrete H-towers that are 275 feet tall. They support 52 stay cables, 26 on each side of the bridge. What is unusual is that the bridge is not symmetrical from end to end, or even on each side of each tower. For example, heading east to west, there are 10 stay cables on the east side of the east tower, 12 cables on the west side of the east tower, 16 cables on the east side of the west tower, and 14 cables on the west side of the west tower. The west approach span crosses the Boston & Maine Railroad, the main span crosses an abandoned industrial site and the Nashua River, and the east approach span, which is much shorter than the west approach span, crosses a steep embankment leading down to the river.

The new 5th Street cable stayed bridge is named after Arthur J. DiTommaso, a long time Fitchburg police officer. The state of Massachusetts approved this designation on July 24, 1996, prior to the bridge being constructed.

The photo above is looking northeast towards the DiTommaso Bridge from a nearby bluff on Canton Street. The bridge is surrounded by trees, making it difficult to see the entire structure in one view. The photo above is the south face of the west bridge abutment.


Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
These two photos are views of the bridge as seen from an access road leading down to the B&M railroad tracks. The photo above is looking east towards the west main bridge tower, while the photo below is the south face of the main bridge span. The bridge cables supporting the main span can be counted in this view. There are 8 cables from each leg of the west tower, but only 6 cables from each leg of the east tower. The approach spans have one fewer cable from each tower.

Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
The photo below is looking north towards the west main bridge tower. A railroad signal tower is located near the bridge tower. The photo below is the north face of the east approach span. The Nashua River is visible from this location.

Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
These two photos are views looking west down the length of the bridge deck from the east end of the structure. The photo above is from the south side of Harvard Street, while the photo below is from the north side of the street.

Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
These two photos are views from the northeast corner of the DiTommaso Bridge. The photo above is a closer view of the approach span and east bridge tower, while the photo below is a wider overview shot.

Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
These two photos are views from the northwest corner of the DiTommaso Bridge. The photo above is an overview shot showing the west bridge tower, while the photo below is a closer view of the west approach span.

Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
These two photos are views looking east down the length of the bridge deck from the west end of the structure. The photo above is from the south side of 5th Street, while the photo below is from the north side of the street.

Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
The photo above is an overview of the scene at the northwest corner of the bridge. The photo below is the first of three photos showing a typical bridge crossing heading eastbound. In this photo, we are approaching the west end of the bridge.

Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
These two photos continue our eastbound bridge crossing. In the photo above, we have just passed the west tower and we are crossing the main bridge span. In the photo below, we are passing the east bridge tower and are crossing the east approach span.

Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge
The photo above is the bridge name sign posted just east of the structure on Harvard Street. The photo below shows the construction date that is engraved in the guardrail at the northeast corner of the bridge.

Arthur J. DiTommaso Memorial Bridge

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