Transit Projects

B92PS07 - Gloucester Drawbridge Replacement 

Project Overview – Existing Structure

The Gloucester Drawbridge (Bridge No. G-05-028) is located on the MBTA Rockport commuter line, approximately 2600 feet west of Gloucester station. The bridge carries the commuter rail passenger service on the Rockport line over the Annisquam River. To the east of the bridge, service is provided to Gloucester and Rockport stations, where the rail line ends. During a typical weekdays, an average of 26 trains cross the bridge.

The existing bridge was built in 1911, reconstructed in 1932 and structurally rehabilitated in 1984. The span drive operating machinery and electrical drive were replaced in 1985. The bridge includes a fixed steel stringer span and Strauss trunnion bascule span that incorporates a fixed steel stringer span. The fixed span is 27 feet long, and the bascule leaf is 46 feet long. When fully opened, the bridge provides a 40’ wide navigational channel (between the timber fenders), without vertical restriction.

 Figure 1 Existing Bridge System

Figure 1: Existing Bridge System

To the west of the bridge is approximately 2200 feet causeway composed of large granite blocks and fill. To the east of the bridge is an approximately 140 feet long timber trestle consisting of eleven span timber trestle supported on timber piles. The eastern approach repairs were made after a fire severely damaged the existing timber trestle. The bridge carries two tracks. The tracks switch to single track about a quarter mile east of the bascule, before Gloucester commuter rail station.

Proposed Project

The scope of the project includes full design and replacement of the bridge, including the mechanical and the electrical components. The existing double track will be replaced, and the existing east approach trestle will be replaced with precast/prestressed box beams atop steel pipe piles. The control tower will also be relocated to the Gloucester Station side of the bridge. The new design will reverse the direction of opening of the bascules to facilitate maintenance.

 Figure 2 Proposed Bridge System

Figure 2: Proposed Bridge System

Construction Staging

In order to reduce impact to existing rail traffic during construction, the bridge will be built in two stages. One half of the bridge will be demolished and reconstructed at a time, while rail traffic is maintained on the other half. To accommodate this process, a temporary right hand turn-out would be installed on the western approach in advance of work on the northern and the southern tracks. The interruption on rail passenger services will be minimized during construction, however there will be limited times that over-night or weekend construction would be required with no rail traffic on the bridge.

Project Cost

The current estimated construction cost is approximately $50M. 

Current Status

The project design is complete. The final design submittal (Plan, Specifications & Estimate) is currently under review. The anticipated advertising date is May 15, 2017, subject to the Army Corp of Engineers issuing the outstanding Section 404 permit. The anticipated construction start date is September 15, 2017. Based on the current schedule, the anticipated construction duration is 4 years.

Additional Information

City Council Meeting Presentation