Bridge work ahead
September 14, 2011
If you are stuck in traffic on your way to work, your way home from work, at night or on weekends, it's okay to thank the Mass. Department of Transportation. They're being innovative, didn't you know?
Actually, many of the traffic tie-ups related to construction projects are a result of the state trying to play catch-up on deteriorating bridges. And we have a ton of them.
There's a bridge under repair in every direction these days.
If you remember the shocking reports in 2008, the public learned that 542 of the state's bridges were deemed structurally deficient, putting Massachusetts at number 48 out of 50 states for having roads in “good” condition. And around here it's no mean feat to reconsider your commute to avoid bridges, whether because they might fall apart, or to avoid reconstruction detours.
According to the state highway department, that number of deficient bridges has been whittled down through an accelerated repair and reconstruction program that started in 2008, including state-of-the-art construction techniques like building modular sections and replacing those big chunks of bridges in much less time than it once took using traditional construction techniques.
But residents need only know there are currently 76 bridge projects underway: basically, a detour in every direction. If the MassDOT interactive map (shown below) is to be believed – and if the weather allows a decent work schedule, a good number of the projects will be complete in 2012. That doesn't mean the headaches will be over, because there are plenty still to come, including the massive Casey Overpass project in Jamaica Plain near the Forest Hills MBTA station, which promises to snarl many commutes in years to come.