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Fore River Bridge Span New, August 2016The Baker-Polito Administration and MassDOT today announced that a major project milestone has been reached with the Fore River Bridge Project: the scheduled move from land to water to installation of a new bridge span which is longer than a football field.

MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack stood with local elected and civic leaders, employees for the contractor, and state engineers and project team members, adjacent to the new span which is on land and is currently being lifted on jacks today at the shipyard in Quincy in preparation to the span’s move to a barge early next week.

“I would like to thank Governor Baker and the Lt. Governor for their continued support of all our bridge projects, large and small,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack.  “I’d also like to express my appreciation to the men and women from MassDOT, White-Skanska and other project staff, who have worked tirelessly to advance the project to this point.  Once completed, the bridge will serve as a multi-modal transportation connection between Quincy and Weymouth and travelers to and from Boston.  What we are seeing here today and will see next week are major feats of engineering of which we all should be proud.”

MassDOT Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin added, “This bridge is the latest example of yet another successful project for the Commonwealth and exemplifies wonderful collaboration with the public, community leaders, and our expert project team and contractor.  Once the bridge project is finished, motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, and mariners, will immediately benefit from more efficient travel and shorter wait times while the bridge is up for passing boats.”

On Monday, August 15, the new lift span for the bridge is scheduled to be floated during high tide on a barge on the Fore River, through the marine channel and secured into place in the bridge superstructure, a carefully-planned and complicated process requiring the use of three tug boats and close coordination by the contractor, U.S. Coast Guard, and other marine officials.

All day today at the shipyard, crews have been involved in the jacking up of the new almost three million pound lift span which has involved the use of jacks at four locations under the span and the use of steel blocks.  The goal now is to raise the span to the height necessary to secure it to the bridge superstructure after the span is floated onboard a barge and down the Fore River to where it will be lifted up to the bridge superstructure.

The scheduled float of the new lift span on August 15 is dependent on tidal conditions and weather, including wind speeds, and is anticipated to begin at approximately 3 a.m.

During the float and installation of the new lift span next week, drivers will still be permitted to travel across the current temporary Fore River Bridge.  There will be no vehicle traffic restrictions necessary for drivers using Route 3A and crossing between Quincy and Weymouth.

U.S. Congressman Stephen Lynch says he looks forward to this important phase with the construction project and to full use of the new bridge by traffic, “I am pleased to see progress on the Fore River Bridge replacement project with the installation of the new lift span. This is a major milestone for the project and a step closer to completion. Once completed, the new bridge will be a significant upgrade for neighbors, commuters, maritime users, pedestrians, and cyclists.”

Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund adds, “This is a key and exciting milestone for a project South Shore commuters have longed to see completed.  As mayor, I’m pleased to witness the progress we have made since the days when I served as ranking member of the state’s transportation committee in the Senate. I thank the current and past administrations for their support and commitment to this important project.”

Quincy Mayor Thomas P. Koch emphasized the important link the bridge plays between communities, “The Fore River Bridge is a vital gateway to the City of Quincy and to the entire South Shore. This is an important milestone toward completing a project critical to our residents, commuters, and the economy of the region.”

MassDOT Board member and Braintree Mayor Joseph C. Sullivan added, “Today, we demonstrate progress for the South Shore towards the full restoration of the Fore River Bridge.   This coastal span is a vital link for our South Shore Economy.”

“This is a very visible and exciting sign of the progress with construction of the new Fore River Bridge. We will continue to work with DOT officials to keep the project on track to completion, with as little inconvenience to commuters as possible,” said State Senator John F. Keenan.

Once the new Fore River Bridge Project is complete, it will carry Route 3A over the Fore River between Quincy and Weymouth, featuring two lanes of motor vehicle traffic in each direction, one bicycle lane in each direction, and sidewalks on both sides of the bridge.

“The Fore River Bridge replacement project truly is a massive undertaking. Having this span moved into place is a big step forward for this project and a great example of the hard work from the men and women working on this bridge,” said State Senator Patrick O’Connor. “During construction, I will continue working with the state to minimize the traffic impacts to commuters that use the Fore River Bridge to get to and from work every day.”

“This is a major step forward for a project that has been years in the making,” said State Representative James Murphy. “It is an enormous undertaking from a design and a construction standpoint. This is of vital importance to the region and we look forward to the completion of the bridge which serves as a vital link for the South Shore,” Murphy said.

Once completed, the bridge will feature a greater vertical clearance than the temporary bridge being used now when the bridge is in the “open-to-traffic position” and allow for fewer openings and vehicle traffic delays.  Also, new machinery on the bridge will allow for the bridge to fully open for passing ships in 2 minutes and 30 seconds.   It will take the same amount of time to return the bridge to its “open-to-traffic” position.

The following is the schedule for the floating and installation of the new lift span:

  • Monday, August 15, weather permitting, the float process begins at approximately 3 a.m.
  • After the lift span is secured to a barge at the shore of the Quincy Shipyard, three tug boats will tow the span .75 miles along the Fore River and into position under the new bridge structure.
  • Once the lift span is under and past the new bridge structure, the tug boats will turn the barge around, pushing and towing it into position to begin the process of span installation.
  • Between 7 am and 12pm, tidal conditions permitting, the span will be secured into its bearings on the bridge superstructure.

The new Fore River Bridge by the numbers:

  • The lift span is 324 feet long, 78.5 feet wide and varies in height from 33.5 feet at each end to 43.5 at its center point
  • The marine channel width will increase from 175’ to 250’
  • When the new lift span is floated into the water before installation, it will weigh 2.9 million pounds. After the span is installed, the contractor will install the bridge deck which increases the weight of the span to 5.1 million pounds.

The new bridge will be the third bridge conveying travelers over the Fore River at this location.  In 1902, a swing bridge was constructed over the river. In 1936, an art deco bascule bridge was built over the waterway and became a well-known local landmark due to the “hum” created when vehicles passed over it. In the late 1990s, the 1936 bridge was found to be deteriorating and the decision was made that a “temporary” bridge should be built and that bridge began to be used in 2002.

The bid amount for this new Fore River Bridge was $244 million and the total construction cost is $272 million, including contingencies.

For more information on the bridge project, visit the project website.

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