The contract for the multi-year Mystic/Tobin Bridge Rehabilitation project will begin on April 1 for the first full year of construction on the upper and lower decks of the Bridge.
The project is fully separate from the controversial Chelsea Viaduct project – which is adjacent to this project – and is still in the design phase.
JF White received its notice to proceed last October, and the contract begins on April 1, which will clear them to move in and begin work, particularly on the Lower Deck (outbound) part of the Bridge. The Lower Deck in each of the three-years will have one lane closed for concrete structure repairs.
Another major component will be the temporary closures at different points during the year of the Everett Avenue on-ramp, the Beacon Street off-ramp and the Fourth Street off-ramp.
“The Lower Deck is a little more involved because it requires milling and paving and replacement of the existing concrete deck,” said John McInerney of MassDOT. “It’s a steel grid so it’s a little more tedious to replace that concrete. Because of worker safety and the fact that the work is tedious and we have to pour concrete and let it cure, the three lanes on the Lower Deck will be down to two throughout the job.”
On the first year, this year, that will be the right lane of traffic that will be closed outbound. On the second year, it will be the left lane, and on the third year, the middle lane.
Paving and milling operations on the Upper Deck (inbound) is less intrusive, and will only be done in off-peak hours with no lane closures expected.
The ramp closures will likely be the most impactful thing for Chelsea residents this year, but McInerney said they will not close multiple ramps at the same time for construction. They will do one at a time.
The first ramp up will be the Everett Avenue on-ramp, which is in deplorable shape.
He said it will likely be closed from late April to May.
“We are going to want them to really focus on that when they close a ramp,” he said. “We aren’t going to let them close a ramp and only work on it three hours a day. We want them to get it done as quickly as possible.”
Once that is done, they will move to close the Beacon Street off-ramp for two months. When it is completed, they will move to close the Fourth Street off-ramp for about one month. That is anticipated to happen in November.
“The bottom line is these three ramp closures are anticipated for this construction season and they won’t close simultaneously,” he said. “They have to have to come one after the other.”
He added that the MBTA is working with them to talk about changes to bus routes that use those ramps.
McInerney said there will also be extensive steel repairs on the Bridge, but the extent isn’t totally known right now. Once crews are able to set up access points, they will be able to examine the steel more closely.
McInerney said before JF White proceeds on April 1, there will be a community meeting to address any concerns. Dates for those meetings are forthcoming.
The project contract ends each Nov. 30 for the three-year period.