Route 9 and Cedar Street were quietly reopened to traffic on Monday morning, almost twelve hours before they were scheduled to be open. A few onlookers watched as some of the first cars travelled under Route 9, and a few drivers sounded their horns and waved appreciatively at the workers. Onlookers stopped by the site throughout the weekend to watch the work rapidly progress. Over a hundred people stood by as the bridge moved—ahead of schedule— down Route 9.
The secret to the incredibly fast bridge replacement was the strategy used by MassDOT and its engineers and builders, which was aimed firmly on a single goal: to provide the best possible customer service to road users and the community by building a long-lasting bridge, safely, efficiently, economically, and with the least possible impact to traffic and the community. To accomplish that, MassDOT pre-constructed the replacement bridge superstructure in a cloverleaf near the old bridge. Doing so kept a vast majority of the work outside of the roadway, nearly eliminating traffic impacts to Route 9.
As shown in the short movie below, once the new bridge superstructure was ready, MassDOT needed to demolish the old bridge and install new portions of the center pier and abutments. On Sunday morning, all preparations were complete. At 5:00 AM, four multi-axle machines called Self-Propelled Modular Transporters (or SPMTs) rumbled to life from their position underneath the new bridge superstructure. They moved in unison, carrying the 530-ton bridge from the cloverleaf onto the Cedar Street ramp. Then, at 8:15, the SPMTs’ many wheels rotated 90 degrees, and the bridge moved smoothly down the ramp onto Route 9 as the crowd watched, amazed. The wheels rotated again, and the bridge moved down Route 9, arriving at the pier and abutments at 9:30. The SPMTs held the bridge above the substructure until the early afternoon, when it was lowered into place.
Crews worked throughout the night to prepare to reopen the bridge. Temporary lane markings are in place and one sidewalk is open for pedestrians. Crews will continue to put the finishing touches on the bridge throughout the month, during off-peak hours. This work includes installing architectural pilasters, final paving and lane marking, completion of sidewalks, and installing signs.
Plan Ahead: Holiday Weekend Travel posted on Apr 16
MassDOT encourages travelers to plan ahead, travel safely, and use public transportation where possible during the upcoming holiday weekend. Heavy traffic is expected due to Easter Sunday observances and Patriot’s Day/Marathon Monday, April 21. The heaviest traffic congestion on I-90 during busy holiday weekends is …Continue Reading Plan Ahead: Holiday Weekend Travel
Freight Rail Grants Announced posted on Apr 14
The Patrick Administration today announced the awarding of seven grants totaling $2.5 million for industrial rail projects as part of the 2014 Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP). The IRAP funding for the seven projects is being matched by more than $1.9 million in private sector …Continue Reading Freight Rail Grants Announced
South Coast Rail: Bridge Replacement Public Hearings posted on Apr 14
MassDOT will host Design Public Hearings in Fall River and New Bedford on the 25% design of four bridge replacements along the future South Coast Rail route. The bridge replacements will provide fast and tangible benefits to help expanding freight service and will also be …Continue Reading South Coast Rail: Bridge Replacement Public Hearings