by Ian Marvinney and Nikki Gloudeman
A temporary pedestrian span will be installed in an overnight operation, making one more step towards the replacement of the Walden Street bridge, slated for 2008.
City officials are confident that the Walden Street Bridge project is on track, said City Engineer Owen C. O’Riordan.
“There is a big push to do everything we can to shorten the year timeline of the project,” said City Councillor Anthony D. Galluccio. “But I am pleased with the city in taking an active role, and thankful for the bridge being fixed because it’s been over a decade of being in need of repair.”
“This is something that has been well planned, and we realize any hindrance to the flow of traffic is a tough one and anything that works around railroad tracks requires special attention,” said State Rep. Alice K. Wolf, D, North Cambridge, whose district includes the bridge.
The lead contractor, J.F. White Construction, Jan. 27 began driving piles into the embankments and assembling a temporary pedestrian bridge on the existing bridge deck, said William Deignan, a planner with the city’s community development office. The project began in October.
In mid-February, NSTAR began construction of an electricity conduit and gas line pipes to the underside of the bridge, O’Riordan said.
This process will be completed in April, once heating demands have subsided after the winter months and workers can transfer gas lines from the old equipment to the new equipment. At that point, the temporary bridge will be lifted into place during a one-night process, which residents will be notified of ahead of time, O’Riordan said.
Deignan said workers can then begin work on the permanent bridge, which will include demolishing the existing bridge deck and removing debris, constructing new foundations, installing new bridge decks, walls and fencing, restoring the surface and roadway approaches to the bridge with curbing, sidewalks, hydrants, trees, new pavement, line striping and signage, and further gas and electricity work by NSTAR. The process is taking a lot of time because of extensive constrictions. The bridge is located in close proximity to houses and businesses, so construction workers have limited equipment use, and there are live railroad tracks located directly beneath it, O’Riordan said.