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.
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