Plympton was recently awarded $100,000 in grant money for small bridge preservation and design. Highway Superintendent Rob Firlotte said the engineer on the project is compiling options for repair of the Ferguson Memorial Bridge on Route 58. Currently, a start date for the work has not been established.
The bridge is named after Sergeant Hugh W. “Ward” Ferguson, Jr. or “Fergy” as he was known to many.
Ferguson, who was born in 1931, was a member of Company C, 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division. Ferguson fought in the Korean War which lasted from June 25, 1950 – July 27, 1953.
On December 1, 1950, Ferguson became one of the approximately 8,000 Korean War soldiers listed as missing in action (MIA). At the time, he was fighting the enemy near the Chongchon River, Kunu-Ri Gauntlet. There are 187 Korean War soldiers from Massachusetts still listed as unaccounted for during the war. Ferguson was presumed deceased on December 31, 1953.
Hugh “Ward” Ferguson Jr. was the son of Hugh Ferguson of Plympton and the nephew of Norman John Ferguson Sr., also of Plympton. The latter was the father-in-law of Plympton Board of Health assistant Cathy Ferguson. Cathy told The Express that her husband, Douglas Ward Ferguson, was named after his missing cousin. She said, “Both my sons were serving in the Navy when they were 19. I can’t imagine how those families felt.”
The plaque on the bridge itself reads, “This bridge is dedicated to the memory of Hugh Ward Ferguson Jr. who gave his life for his country in the Korean Conflict 1950-1952.”
Ferguson remains Missing In Action. His remains were never recovered.
The new round of Municipal Small Bridge Program Grant Awards were recently announced by the Baker-Polito Administration, in which 27 communities will be receiving a total amount of $6.3 million. The program is a need and merit-based program that seeks to fund those applications that demonstrate a critical need or substantially extend the life of an existing small bridge. Projects are evaluated according to a strict set of eligibility criteria that consider the condition, benefits, and repair status of each bridge.
“Our administration is pleased make available this funding that can be used by cities and towns to preserve and repair smaller bridges within their communities,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Since our administration began the Municipal Small Bridge Program close to $50 million has been awarded in funding to municipalities to ensure that their locally-owned transportation assets are safe and reliable.”
“This program has helped facilitate the development of 121 small bridge projects across the Commonwealth that due to their size would be deemed ineligible for federal funding,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We are pleased to work with cities and towns to address their infrastructure needs and support local economies.”
The Municipal Small Bridge Program, signed into law on August 10, 2016, by Governor Baker, is a several-year $50 million program to aid in the replacement and preservation of municipally-owned small bridges that are not eligible for federal aid under existing bridge replacement or rehabilitation programs. An increasing number of them are at high risk for full or partial closure in the near future due to their present conditions.
“The Baker-Polito Administration continues to support cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth in their efforts to make improvements to locally-owned transportation infrastructure,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “This program facilitates key safety upgrades and repairs to bridges which connect communities and people.”
“We appreciate the support of the Baker/Polito administration, as well as the state and local elected officials who have assisted with the development of the Municipal Small Bridge Program,” said Highway Division Administrator Jonathan Gulliver “We are pleased to award $6.3 million in funding to these communities in order to improve these bridges and ensure they allow for effective and safe travel for years to come.”
The program assists cities and towns with replacing or preserving bridges with spans between 10’ and 20’. These small bridges are not eligible for federal aid under existing federal funding programs. Each municipality may qualify for up to $500,000 per year. This program that provides financial support to cities and towns for small bridge replacement, preservation and rehabilitation projects.
This grant round will exhaust the 5-year $50,000,000 budget for this program. Until new bond authorization becomes available, no new grant funding rounds will be announced. MassDOT will use the small amount of current authorization remaining to be able to fund emergency small bridge replacement and repair requests, in line with program objectives.
The previous round of grants awarded over $5.2 million to 12 communities to aid in the replacement or preservation of municipally-owned small bridges which were not eligible for federal aid under existing programs and were at high risk for full or partial closure in the near future if repairs are not made.