The construction of Wellesley’s Rockland Street Bridge, closed since Jan. 27, has hit a snag.
The abutments supporting the bridge are smaller than the contractor thought they were, according to Michael Verseckes, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which is overseeing the construction.
The bridge was built in the early 1900s, he said, and the original plans did not show the true size of the abutments, nor do they meet today’s design standards.
Since "this bridge was built, a lot has changed,” he said. “The remedy is to make them larger so they can support a heavier load.”
The $1.6 million project will raise the height of the bridge by 5.2 inches to give it a slightly higher clearance over the railroad tracks, said Verseckes. It will also widen the bridge deck by four feet to make more room for vehicles, and will add two six-foot sidewalks.
The original plan, he said, was to demolish most of the old bridge on Feb. 6 and rebuild the new bridge on its foundations. But demolition has been postponed until the abutments are strengthened.
Officials will not have a cost figure for the redesign of the abutments until they are complete, said Verseckes. It will take about three weeks to finish redesigning them, but, he said, the delay shouldn’t impact the project’s overall end-date. Construction is still expected to be finished by late September, he said.
Wellesley police recently posted a video to their website of a car driving across the bridge, which is currently open only to pedestrians. Driving across a footbridge, they said, is illegal.
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