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Boston to Replace Century-Old Bridge

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

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Late last month, the board of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation approved a $205 million, five-year project to replace Boston's 117-year-old North Washington Street Bridge.

Work is set to begin this fall and stretch into 2023, according to the Boston Globe. The replacement of the current truss bridge is necessary because the structure has been deemed “structurally deficient”—meaning that it’s near the end of its lifespan, but not yet unsafe—and it costs more than $1 million a year to maintain.

Bridge Replacement

The new Charles River crossing will be equipped with improved infrastructure for foot and bicycle traffic, as well as two vehicle lanes in each direction and one inbound lane meant exclusively for buses. Sidewalks will be expanded to make for a more pleasant pedestrian experience. Other improvements include architectural design elements, plantings, lighting and an improved treatment for the Freedom Trail, which follows the northeastern side of the span. Separated cycle tracks on either side will also create a safer connection across the river.

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Late last month, the board of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation approved a $205 million, five-year project to replace the 117-year-old North Washington Street Bridge.

The design also includes a vertical trellis along the navigation span and Y-shaped piers that will visually complement the geometry of the nearby Zakim Bridge. According to the Boston Globe, the original bridge is set to be replaced in parts, with traffic adjusting as necessary as the western, then eastern, portions are dismantled.

Part of last month’s approval granted J.F. White Contracting a base contract of $177 million, which is the low bid, yet still 9 percent higher than the state’s original estimate of between $140 million and $150 million.

Other costs incurred, including police details, engineering and a 10 percent contingency for cost overruns, could increase the total to $205 million. Boston itself is set to pay $14.9 million, with the remainder of financing coming from a mix of state and federal funds.

If J.F. White can finish the work six months early, the city may pay an additional $7.2 million. If the project runs past the deadline, the contractor faces a $40,000-a-day fine.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Construction; Department of Transportation (DOT); Exposure conditions; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management

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