The following is a traffic advisory from the state Department of Conservation and Recreation about the John W. Weeks pedestrian bridge that runs above the Charles River connecting access from Soldiers Field Road in Allston to Memorial Drive in Cambridge:
Beginning Sept. 20, 2011, the Department of Conservation and Recreation will initiate work on the Weeks Footbridge to repair the original limestone balustrade handrails and replace a portion of the navigational lights above each arch on both the upstream and downstream sides of the bridge. This work is expected to conclude in mid- to late-January, 2012.
Given the historic nature of the footbridge, DCR has been coordinating with the Cambridge Historic Commission, the Boston Landmarks Commission, and the Massachusetts Historic Commission.
At any given time, half of the footbridge will remain open to the public for use during the construction project. In addition, navigational access will be maintained through at least two of the three arches at all times during construction. DCR is working with the contractor in an effort to schedule the single arch closures during October, November and December in a sequence that minimizes impacts for rowing and boaters. This schedule will be posted on DCRís website by October 1.
To accommodate for the Head of the Charles event in mid-October, all work on the footbridge will be suspended, and full public access temporarily restored while the event is taking place.
It is anticipated that a barge will be staged in the Charles River in order to complete the necessary work and to provide the necessary containment. In addition, a containment system made of netting will also be installed to prevent any debris from entering the Charles River.
Per Coast Guard requirements, the barge will be equipped with navigational lights and positioned and anchored to the side of the river during non-working hours.
These immediate investments in railing and lighting repairs are a first step in a larger, multi-phase renovation and restoration of the Weeks Footbridge that DCR expects to unveil to the public through a public process and to commence in the Spring of 2012.