On eve of bridge reopening, party highlights revitalization
For the first time in more than two years, cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians will be able to cross the Padanaram causeway as it is set to reopen Monday if all goes according to plan.
There will be little pomp and circumstance once the barriers are removed, so Padanaram residents picked up the slack and hosted a party to celebrate on June 10. During the event, hosted by Farm and Coast Market, hundreds of attendees enjoyed free food, music, and beer and wine samplings.
The event provided residents and business owners alike an opportunity to reflect on the past two years of being without the vital link between Padanaram and Smith Neck, which was officially closed in 2016 for an $8.6 million renovation project targeting roadway, drainage, structural, and lighting improvements.
Beatriz Hawes brought her daughter Adrianna to get ice cream at Dockside before heading to the party. It’s a tradition the pair hopes will become much easier.
“We live on the other side of the bridge so we can’t wait to get over quicker,” Hawes said. “Everything is all on one block.”
Tara Boukheir attended the party with her family. She lives right on Elm Street, and had to deal with detours during the summer beach season.
“We survived,” Boukheir said. “We adjusted. But it’s going to be great [once it opens,] I’ll tell you that,” adding that her beach commute will be reduced by 15 minutes.
Dartmouth Select Board member John Haran was also in attendance at the party. He credited the state and Department of Public Works’ cooperation, and said he is excited to see what happens to the community once the bridge reopens.
“It’s really going to revitalize the village,” he added.
For Padanaram businesses, it means more customers too, explained Farm and Coast’s Jody Cote. The business opened its doors shortly before the bridge closed. While strong advertising helped during the closure, Cote said the aim of the party is to reach those on both sides of the bridge.
The musical act for the event ended with one final word of advice for attendees: “May the bridge we with you.”