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longfellow_LgMore than 100 years after the last stone was set on the “salt and pepper” towers of the Longfellow Bridge, MassDOT will begin dismantling the towers for storage, cleaning, and repair as part of the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project.  The work is anticipated to begin later this week, and is weather dependent.

The tower dismantling work will take place using a barge-mounted crane on the Charles River. On Thursday, March 6, MassDOT’s contractor, White-Skanska-Consigli JV, will begin preparations by moving into place the crane via barge from the staging area in Charlestown to the upstream side of the bridge.  An ice-breaker will precede the barge to provide an unobstructed path.  Once the crane is in position at the Cambridge tower the granite stones will be removed and loaded on a barge. The stones will be taken to the contractor’s staging area for cleaning, storage, and repair. 

The towers will be dismantled to sidewalk level only.  All remaining pier granite below the sidewalk will be restored in place.  During stone removal, waterway access will be partially restricted through span 7  immediately adjacent to the tower.  Booms and lighting will be deployed in accordance with US Coast Guard requirements for boater safety.

Along with the tower granite removal, the contractor will demolish a concrete liner to expose the inner face of the tower stonework. The concrete demolition work will take place from staging set within the towers and will not be visible to pedestrians from street level. Once the Cambridge-side tower is dismantled, the contractor will start work on the adjacent upstream Boston tower, Pier 5. The two downstream towers will be dismantled and restored when that side of the bridge is rehabilitated during the final phase of construction, which is planned to begin in fall 2015. 

As conditions dictate, the uppermost stones comprising the tower roof may need to be removed using a mobile crane situated on the bridge deck. In this case, the work will be done at night, during MBTA Red Line non-service hours.

The contractor plans to rebuild the iconic towers after seismic reinforcement construction is completed within the bridge tower piers. The fully restored upstream “salt and pepper” tower stonework is planned to be reassembled on the bridge later this year.

To learn about the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project and construction process, view this animation. For more information on the project, visit the website:

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