The proposed replacement of the Winter Street Bridge that spans the CSX and MBTA railroad tracks has been assigned a four-year construction window and may not be completed until late summer of 2016.
In the final phase of the project, the bridge will be closed to vehicles for an estimated 14 months. Under the proposed timetable that would be from June 2015 to Aug. 2016.
Those were the estimated time frames brought forth by representatives of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Division at a design public hearing Thursday evening at the
While the MassDOT officials offered the four-year construction scenario they were quick to state that their goal is to get the job done quicker and they assured town officials and the general public that the bridge would remain open during most of the construction. A walkway will remain open for the duration of the project.
“This project will have tremendous impact on the neighborhood,” Selectman Dennis Giombetti told the MassDOT representatives. “I would respectfully ask that when you go out to bid you have severe penalties to the contractor for missing completion dates.”
The hearing was a 25 percent design hearing and as such was held to gather information and hear concerns of town officials and the public while at the same time presenting information about the state’s perspective of the project.
A MassDOT representative offered a preliminary timeline of the project, which is expected to be modified once a contractor is hired and work begins.
At this point, the proposed construction phases would be:
- Sept. to Nov. 2013: Begin construction and clear the way for utility companies to reroute their lines.
- Spring 2014 to early summer 2015: Most work will be off road with minimal disruption to traffic.
- June 2015: The bridge will be closed to traffic with only a pedestrian walkway linking the two sides.
- August 2016: The bridge will reopen and the project will be completed.
The four construction season scenario takes into account a shutdown each November to March.
But MassDOT representatives indicated that the contractor will be encouraged to work during the winter months as long as conditions warrant it.
“The ideal situation would be to have the March to November window as (the final phase) work time and avoid the winter shutdown so the bridge isn’t closed when there is no work being done,” said Giombetti.
The proposed project will be a complete replacement of the existing bridge with a new, single span structure. The new bridge over the tracks will be wider than the current bridge, which will allow for turning lanes at the Waverly and Fountain Street intersections.
Winter Street will gain a 5-foot shoulder on each side to accommodate bicycles.
A sidewalk will be built on the bridge on the east side of Winter Street.
The first phase of construction will be on the east side of the existing bridge, which will not impede normal traffic flow.
Once the eastern portion of the new bridge is completed, the existing bridge will be torn down and a new span will take its place. During that time, Winter Street will be closed between Waverly and Fountain streets and detours will route traffic around the closed construction project.
Much of the work that requires Winter Street to close will be done in the summer to alleviate impact on Keefe Tech, which is located at one corner of the intersection of Fountain and Winter streets,
Both bridge abutments will be rebuilt and moved back to give a wider path for the railroad track bed.
The existing bridge is deteriorating and was rated as functionally obsolete and structurally deficient after its last inspection, according to MassDOT.
A beneficial outcome of the project will be a reduction of traffic congestion at Winter Street’s intersections with Fountain Street and Waverly Street (Route 135).
It is anticipated that during the closure that the Fountain Street bridge and Dudley Road, where Barbieri Elementary is located, will see increased traffic.