New bridge comes in right on the Dot

Bridge being replaced in Dorchester

MassDOT is replacing a Red Line bridge over Clayton Street in Dorchester this weekend. Workers began moving the bridge into place last evening, under a new program in which spans are built offsite and then hauled in, which cuts the time a bridge is shut from months or years to a weekend.

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Not comparable

This weekend's Red LIne project is a rail-only bridge over a small street. The I-93 bridges are road-only bridges over fairly small streets and over the narrowest part of the Mystic River. I think all of these are 'flat' bridges, too.

The Longfellow is a road + sidewalks + Red Line bridge over the widest part of the Charles River, with substantial slopes. Not the kind of place where you can just swap out the existing bridge and swap in a new pre-built one.

Plus it's historic, so

Plus it's historic, so swapping out the existing bridge for a new one wasn't an option. I actually remember that point being made when I read a piece on this project when it was first being described -- the necessity of rebuilding the existing structure was cited as making the project more lengthy (and I think costly).

Umm...

Except that I'm pretty sure that plenty of union workers were employed building the thing offsite, transporting it to the site (Teamsters?) and doing the final installation work over the weekend. I'd bet a fair amount of money that they all got just about the same amount of work hours out of the deal when all is said and done.

Anyone thinking that

Anyone thinking that constructing a short span bridge like this should take "months or years" probably should be arrested on corruption charges. This small scale of a project should take days if prefabricated or weeks if not.

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