City officials said they expect a stretch of Boylston Street that remains a crime scene in the wake of last Monday’s marathon explosions to reopen to the public soon, likely within the next two days.
Boston Police Chief Edward Davis said investigators were making progress at a press conference this afternoon inside the fire station closest to the scene of the explosions.
“We are satisfied there are no more explosive devices in the area of Boylston Street,” Davis said. “We are hoping to get this area turned over as soon as possible.”
Normally a hub of residential and business activity in the heart of the city, investigators have banned all access to six city blocks in the heart of the city and said reopening the site involves a tremendous number of logistical and public safety issues and are waiting for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to give the final okay.
Scores of residents and business owners who live and work in the area are awaiting the news.
However, Davis described a painstaking investigation that involved collecting an enormous amount of evidence from the site of the explosion. The two lethal explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line killed three people and injured 173 nearly one week ago.
Investigators picked up pieces of everything that was left, Davis said, and investigators would reassemble the fragments of the bombs “piece by piece.”
The horror of Monday’s marathon blast was foremost on the minds of people who walked in the afternoon sun around Newbury Street and parts of Back Bay. Although the six block area along Boylston Street from Hereford to Clarendon streets remained barricaded by police, people dined and shopped in nearby stores along the perimeter of the crime scene, making every effort to return to life as usual.
“It’s time to move this city forward,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who stood from a wheelchair to make the announcement of the plan at the afternoon press conference. “We’ve been working hard to develop a plan to open Boylston Street, now the most famous street in the world.”
City officials said that they are currently assessing the safety of buildings and utilities in the wake of the blast and decontaminating the site. Debris removal and internal building assessments were planned, he said.
Officials said that some makeshift memorials created to honor the blasts’ victims would be moved to Copley Park. Officials also said they would erect message boards at the site and begin considering potential locations for a monument to the victims.
City officials also encouraged businesses that have been closed or impacted by the bombing to register with the city by calling 617-635-4500 or visit the Business Resource Center on the fourth floor of the Park Plaza Hotel. By registering, they will receive information about when the area will reopen. More than 200 businesses had already registered, city officials said.