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Gloucester Drawbridge Replacement April 2021 Progress Recap

Updated on May 19, 2021

A construction worker in high visibility clothing stands by a semi truck and guides a large concrete support beam suspended by crane
Approach span box beam being lifted (April 2021)

The MBTA is pleased to provide you with this update of project activities completed in April 2021 and ongoing or upcoming work for May 2021.  

East Approach Spans

Crews started work on the east approach bridge spans, which lead to the river channel and moveable span.

The approach span superstructure consists of prestressed concrete box beams, which are precast and delivered to the site before being lifted and set into place.

Two construction workers in high visibility vests set a large concrete beam into place
Approach span box beam being set into place (April 2021)

After setting the box beams, crews installed the bridge deck reinforcing and poured concrete for the deck. They have also started constructing the concrete curbs that run along the deck edges, retain the track ballast, and support the walkways.

A construction worker is smoothing out a large area of wet concrete
Approach span deck construction (April 2021)

Control Tower

In the control tower, crews continued installation of new conduit and wiring of critical electrical, signal, and system controls equipment. They're connecting submersed cable and conduits that cross the river to the control tower raceways. Once completed, the new control tower will operate the bridge.

A construction worker in high visibility clothing and a hard hat is standing next to the base of the bridge supports. There are long pipes that contain cables and conduits that will be routed underground
Submerse cable and conduits being connected to control tower (April 2021)

Pier 2

Crews continued work on Pier 2, which will hold the trunnion tower and the machinery for the moveable bascule span.

The trunnion tower columns have been installed. These columns support the trunnion, which supports the axle that the bascule span will rotate on.

A photo of large grey steel columns that are being installed under a cement base part of the bridge
Trunnion tower columns at Pier 2 (April 2021)

Workers completed construction of the southern tie beam for Pier 2. This beam will support the walkway in addition to laterally supporting the pier walls.

Construction workers pour cement into a wood frame containing a web of steel in order to form a beam
Construction of the Pier 2 tie beam (April 2021)

Channel Work

Crews started installation of the new channel fender system, and timber fender piles have been installed at the bridge.

By coordinating with the USCG and harbormaster, we installed the piles while limiting the impact to the navigable river channel.

Three construction workers stand at the bottom of a crane to guide it
Installation of timber fender pile (April 2021)
A collection of very tall wooden poles sticking out of the water in a way that almost looks like a forest
Timber fender piles (April 2021)

West Causeway

The installation of a steel sheeting wall is approximately 75% completed. This wall will support the relocated southern track.

A crew is installing a series of metal poles to build a wall next to the road
Installation of the west causeway sheeting wall (April 2021)

Crews began work to modify and retrofit the existing control tower, which will be repurposed into a signal instrument room.

A photo of the old drawbridge control tower with a temporary framework around it
Repurposing of the existing control tower (April 2021)
A construction worker stands on the temporary scaffolding built around the old drawbridge control tower
Repurposing of the existing control tower (April 2021)

The southern barrel is tracking to reopen late summer 2021.

Signals, Power, and Utilities

Crews continued installing conduits towards the east of the signal instrument house (See Photo 12). These conduits support MBTA signal and fiber systems.

A construction worker is leaning over in a trench dug in the ground for the conduits to run through
Conduit Work (April 2021)

Work on leading the submersed cable and conduits to the new Control Tower continues.

Construction workers are laying pipe through a trench. The trench is slightly flooded from the rain
Submerse cable and conduit work (April 2021)

Coming in May 2021

  • Installation of the remaining fender piles and fender boards
  • Modifications to the west abutment, including installation of the approach slabs that will lead up to the bridge
  • Arrival and assembly of the moveable bascule span

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