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Longfellow Bridge Student Field Trip, December 2014Most of the time students spend their days learning from teachers inside the classroom. On a recent sunny November afternoon, fifth graders from the Advent School were outside of the classroom learning about Longfellow- the Bridge that is!

MassDOT and the Advent School collaborated on a field trip to teach the students about bridge design, engineering, construction, and the exciting work happening just down the street from their school. Tooey Rogers and his class of fifth grade science and engineering students participated in a behind-the-scenes tour of the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project construction site. The school is a Beacon Hill neighbor of the bridge and students have been observing the progress since construction started last year.

Chad Sowersby, the Project Engineer, and Trish Palmiere, the Architectural Coordinator, with the White Skanska Consigli Joint Venture construction team provided a thorough presentation and walking tour highlighting design considerations and traffic stages. Sowersby described the challenges of maintaining multimodal transportation on the bridge during construction.

“No one else in your lifetime will get to experience the reconstruction of this historic bridge and its salt-and-pepper towers,” Palmiere told the students.

She also described the historic bridge construction techniques that are still used today, such as pile driving, along with newer technology, such as the gantry crane that is used to lift and place steel to construct the new bridge.

Back in the classroom, Rogers is teaching the students about different bridge types. The class will also get to exhibit what they’ve learned by building their own popsicle-stick bridges. MassDOT hopes that this up-close experience with the Longfellow Bridge construction project, coupled with in-class learning will inspire some students to become the next generation of engineering and construction professionals

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