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Fore River Bridge shifts to 24-hour construction schedule

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  July 25, 2013 12:12 PM

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The Fore River Bridge construction is progressing on schedule, thanks to round-the-clock work to build the new bridge’s foundation.

The “third shift”, or work from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., began on the Quincy side of the bridge several weeks into construction once crews realized that the tide and currents were filling in excavated areas. That same shift will be put in place starting July 29 on the Weymouth side.

“On [the Weymouth] side we will implement third shift in the beginning, so we can have a continuous progress 24 hours a day…so the tide and ocean can’t undo the work we’ve done,” said Michael Verseckes, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. “We won’t have to touch up areas or go back and redo things we’ve already done.

The third shift will continue for 12 weeks, according to the Fore River Bridge website, and noise levels should be less than that of the other two construction shifts.

Work has been ongoing on the first step of the $244 million bridge replacement since July 8, and already foundational elements on the Quincy side are complete.

Some of the design elements are also being finished as the beginning construction phase progresses.

“For the most part, the effort is on the foundational elements,” Verseckes said. “That obviously needs to occur first, but we can’t take up too much of the channel itself. It’s still actively serving tankers and other recreational vessels, too. There is only so many feet we can work with without cutting an interference with other needs of the channel.”

The new lift bridge will replace what has often been called the “erector set” bridge currently in use. Cars have been traveling across the temporary bridge since 2002 after crews discovered in the late 1990s that the 1936 bascule bridge was badly deteriorated.

Not only will the new bridge straighten the throughway, which was curved for the purpose of the temporary bridge, but the bridge will also provide pedestrian and bicycle accommodation, increase the clearance of the closed bridge to 60 feet, and improve the horizontal channel clearance from 175 feet to 250 feet.

The new bridge is intended to last for at least 75 years.

Though work is aggressively ongoing, Verseckes said that construction should have no impact on bridge travelers.

“We don’t expect [traffic impacts] till the home stretch of the project, when we will be shifting travel lanes from 3A on to the bridge,” Verseckes said. “….Obviously the existing bridge is still in use and it does serve a very active channel. Periodic openings will be continuing to occur.”

Crews working on the bridge have also been instructed not to park on public streets, and have been provided parking at 40 Cleverly Court, in the Fore River shipyard, and elsewhere around the project site.

The only impact may be the delivery of parts via Route 3 and through several Quincy streets.

Deliveries of larger bridge components will start to occur via the waterfront to avoid road travel.

For more information and progress updates on the bridge, click here.

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