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On the Trans Blog
Medford I-93 Bridges: July 22-25 Construction

Work crews will continue the series of rapid bridge superstructure replacements on I-93 in Medford beginning on Friday, July 22nd at 8:00 PM and continuing through Monday, July 25th at 5:00 AM. This weekend’s locations involve the bridge on I-93 South over Route 28 South (Fellsway)/Valley Street and the center span on the bridge on I-93 South over the Mystic River.

Throughout the course of the weekend, traffic on I-93 will be limited to two lanes in each direction over a 6-mile segment between Exit 28 (Sullivan Square) in Somerville and Exit 36 (Montvale Avenue) in Stoneham. Traffic on I-93 South will be directed through a median crossover near Spot Pond at the Stoneham/Medford line and then travel in counter-flow operation on the northbound barrel of the highway before traveling through a second median crossover near the Medford/Somerville line. I-93 directional traffic will be separated by a moveable “zipper lane” barrier. Access to and from many of the ramps on I-93 South in this area will be restricted.

The $98.1 million project to replace these fourteen bridge superstructures in Medford is funded through the Patrick-Murray Administration’s historic Accelerated Bridge Program, a $3 billion recovery effort to reduce the Commonwealth’s backlog of structurally-deficient bridges.

For more information or to sign up to receive future updates and schedule information, visit the 93Fast 14 Project website.

The Road to Reform

U.S. Transportation Secretary: 93Fast14 "Exciting Innovation"

Over the last few days, MassDOT and the Accelerated Bridge Program have received national attention and praise for using innovation to accelerate construction, improve safety and minimize construction-related congestion on I-93 and local roads during the replacement of fourteen bridges in Medford, a project known as the 93Fast14. Without the innovations that the Accelerated Bridge Program is using— Design-Build, Prefabricated Modular Units, and rapid-setting concrete— this project would take at least four years to complete and would require lengthy lane closures.

Last year’s potholes on I-93 demonstrated that lane closures during peak travel hours are simply not an option for this project. The Accelerated Bridge Program’s project development team and Highway Division leaders carefully planned the project so that much of the work could occur off-site, eliminating the need for several weeks of lane closures. Instead, each weekend MassDOT is demolishing and replacing one or two bridges.

Replacing a bridge or two in a weekend is a remarkable achievement, and there’s a good reason why this project has been referred to as ‘the most ambitious in the country’. Thanks to the coordination of managers and the dedicated work of each man and woman on site, the 93 Fast 14 bridges have been reopened hours ahead of schedule each weekend.

This week, the team was honored with a visit from Governor Patrick. This past weekend, the team hosted over 160 transportation leaders from as far away as Oregon, California and Puerto Rico. These leaders came to MassDOT to learn from this incredible project. Federal Highway Administrator Mendez visited the Salem Street Bridges, and was 'thoroughly impressed'.

In his Fast Lane blog, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, called the project ‘an exciting demonstration of American innovation’. The project has also received favorable reviews from residents who have visited the site. Although the project is not without noisy weekends and short-term traffic slow-downs, it is wonderful to see the awe on onlookers’ faces as the new bridge is assembled right before their eyes. It is excellent to know that this project eliminates years of crippling traffic congestion, avoids the work zone hazards of staged construction and will result in long-lasting improvements in important infrastructure for all.


I-495 Lowell Bridges Open Fully Both Directions

As part of the final stages of the I-495 Lowell Bridge Bundle Project, all three southbound travel lanes opened to traffic by Thursday morning. The contraflow lane was taken out of service and the median crossovers shut down.

As of Thursday, all southbound and northbound traffic are back on the normal side of the highway and travel on completely replaced bridges over Woburn Street, the MBTA Lowell Line, and the Concord River.

The opening of the three southbound lanes and closure of the contraflow lane represents the conclusion of major bridge construction.

Replacement of the six bridges in the I-495 Lowell Bridge Bundle is taking place under the Patrick-Murray Administrations historic Accelerated Bridge Program, an eight year, $3 Billion plan to repair or replace structurally deficient bridges throughout the Commonwealth.

With major bridge work complete, work for the project’s final month will consist of milling, repaving and restriping the highway through the work zone.


Mary Soo Hoo Park

by Jeff Mullan, MassDOT Secretary & CEO

Last Friday, I had the honor of attending the groundbreaking ceremony for Mary Soo Hoo Park at the Chinatown Gate on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. I was joined by members of the Soo Hoo family, Mayor Thomas Menino, officials from MassDOT, the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the City of Boston, staff of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, Senator Chang-Diaz, Representative Michlewitz, Councilor Linehan, and other civic leaders from the area.

Soon, the park will be a beautiful place to relax in the neighborhood. It will also feature a wonderful piece of public art on our vent building that is being installed in cooperation with the Museum of Fine Arts. We are all looking forward to the park’s completion.

I didn’t know Mary Soo Hoo, but know from my conversations with her family and Mayor Menino that she was quite a woman. I noted at the ceremony how wonderful it is for her family that she is being honored by naming this park in her memory. It is a genuine tribute and one of which her family is justifiably proud. I was pleased to meet them all.

I’ll remember the day for its simplicity and for the fact that the park brings together the memory of an old friend – Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who did so much to make the Greenway happen – and a tribute to new friends – the Soo Hoo family, leaders in the Chinatown community.

The Kennedys and the Soo Hoos – two great American families.


MassDOT August Public Meeting

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors will hold its next regular public business meeting on Wednesday, August 10, 1:00pm, MBTA Board Room, Suite 3910, State Transportation Building, Boston.

The MBTA Board will meet first at 1pm, followed by the MassDOT Board. All meetings are open to the public.

The meeting schedule is available on the MassDOT website.