By Anastasia Pasecinic
The city's DPW told The Alewife the Walden Street Bridge will temporarily re-open for traffic Friday after more than two years of construction work that severed one of the city's major through streets.
During the project's construction residents and commuters have endured an irksome detour scheme compounded by the neighborhood's one way streets, in addition at least three businesses along Walden Street have closed or changed hands.
“We intend to open the bridge on Friday December 19th. The west sidewalk and roadway will be opened on that day,” said Adam Hurtubise, a spokesman for the state's highway department, the lead agency supervising the Walden Street bridge construction project.
The bridge will have to be closed again for NSTAR electric to relocate electric lines from the old bridge, said Owen O’Riordan, the city engineer at public works.
O’Riordan said he expects NSTAR to complete the electrical work by the end of January when the old bridge will be removed.
The sidewalks on southeastern side of the bridge will be completed by spring while the bridge stays open for traffic, he said. “We are still waiting for NSTAR electric to relocate the lines from the old bridge, which is maybe a few weeks away.”
Rebecca Fuentes, the community relations manager at public works, said the Walden Street bridge construction project was budgeted for two years. There was hope that the project would be completed by spring 2008. However, the structural elements of the bridge were completed in the fall, within the two-year limit that was budgeted.
Hurtubise said the bridge was closed for $5 million of construction work in October 2006. The paving of the bridge is now complete, but minor work on the East sidewalk will be finished in the spring. “We anticipate the east sidewalk and ornamental bridge fence will be finished in the spring, completing this project.” In the meantime, a temporary pedestrian bridge will remain open."
The project extends from the Richdale Avenue intersection to approximately 15 feet beyond the King Street intersection. The work includes rehabilitation of the historic brick arch cattle path, he said.