In the News

2015 |2014

One Weekend and a New Bridge: FST-Engineered Morton Street Bridge Rolled Into Place

August 18, 2014

Morton Street Bridge MoveA group of Fay, Spofford & Thorndike engineers had a long, but exciting Saturday evening into Sunday morning this weekend as they observed the Massachusetts Department of Transportation's new Morton Street Bridge rolled into place using SPMT – Self Propelled Modular Transporters. FST is the design engineer of record on the project, which is part of the Accelerated Bridge Construction program being carried out by MassDOT. Due to this innovative program, the full bridge replacement required the tracks beneath it to be closed for only a weekend and the roadway it holds to be shut down for a little over a week.

The bridge, which carries Morton Street over the MBTA tracks in Mattapan, was closed to traffic on Friday, August 8, 2014, at 9 p.m. and demolished on Saturday, August 9. The new bridge, which had been constructed at an adjacent site, was rolled into place in the early morning hours of Sunday, August 10. Trains were running beneath the structure and pedestrians were walking over it by Monday, August 11. On Sunday, August 18, a day ahead of schedule, traffic was traveling over the bridge once again.

FST's Len Dzengelewski, Brian Brenner, Ed Laracy, Nick Scenna, and Ryan Marshall all spent significant parts of their weekend at the site as contractors demolished the old bridge and moved the previously constructed new superstructure into place. Several high-ranking transportation and political officials also visited the project site, including MassDOT's Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Richard Davey, Highway Administrator Frank DePaola and Mass. State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry.

In "Tweeting" about the project, MassDOT noted that it is a "two-year project being done in 10 days."

According to MassDOT, Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) methods are "means of rapidly constructing bridges by building major bridge components apart from their final location and installing them quickly using heavy lifting equipment such as cranes, gantry systems or self-propelled modular motorized transporters. ABC techniques minimize construction-related impacts (such as traffic congestion) by moving as much of the work out of the roadway as possible. Conventional staged construction methods would have resulted in a three and a half-year-long project with ongoing traffic disruptions."

In 2013, MassDOT replaced the River Street Bridge crossing over the MBTA and CSX railroad tracks in Hyde Park in April 2012. Also with FST as engineer of record, the project featured heavy-lifting machines called Self-Propelled Modular Transporters (SPMTs) that lifted the new superstructure from its supports, moved it down to the railroad tracks, and lowered it into position.