Questions Regarding Current Conditions
Q: Is the temporary
A: Yes. MassDOT Highway Division
conducts frequent maintenance on the temporary bridge as well as
scheduled and spot inspections to ensure its safety.
Q: What are the
regulations regarding when the bridge can open?
A: Regulations about when the Fore
River Bridge can open are set by the United States Coast Guard. Regulations regarding
the operation of the Fore River Bridge can be seen in the lower
right corner of this linked document.
Q: Can you tell me the
proportion of openings requested by ship type?
A: The design team researched the average
percentage of openings triggered by the different ship types using data
gathered between 2005 and 2009. For example, during this time, 14% of
openings were caused by the tall masts of sloops, the main type of
recreational sailboat in the Fore River basin. Average
openings depicted as a pie chart.
Questions on the Replacement Bridge
Q: Who will be responsible for the new Fore River Bridge's upkeep and maintenance once it's complete? Who's going to take care of day-to-day work like replacing burned out light bulbs and plowing snow?
A: Until the new bridge is complete and accepted by MassDOT, the design/build team is responsible for its maintenance. Once MassDOT accepts the bridge, the agency will take over all maintenance tasks, including, but not limited to, removal of snow from vehicle lanes, bicycle lanes and sidewalks, changing failed light bulbs and removing any graffiti from the structure.
Q: What are the bicycle accommodations going to be on the new bridge?
A: The new bridge will include a painted bicycle lane in each direction. The pre-25% design included bicycle-accommodating shoulders. Generally, bicycle lanes are seen as a better accommodation for cyclists.
Q: Could there be a physical barrier between the vehicle and bicycle lanes?
A: The idea of the bicycle lanes on the bridge is to allow vehicles and bicycles to operate as they do on urban streets striped with bicycle lanes. Typically, under such circumstances, a physical barrier is not present. Implementation of a barrier on the bridge represents some specific challenges because of the movable span. A raised obstacle, such as a jersey barrier, would present a launching hazard for automobiles, add weight to the lifting span, and narrow the available room for cyclists. It is also possible that it would cause problems with snow removal. Rumble strips, suggested by community members in the public involvement process, would not be considered safe for installation on this bridge per MassDOT and FHWA guidelines and would likewise narrow the width of space available for bicycles.
Q: What about a tunnel
or fixed crossing? Wouldn’t these options let traffic flow
A: In 2002, during the construction of
the temporary bridge, a report was prepared for MassDOT Highway
Division investigating the use of fixed bridge, tunnel
and movable span options for the Fore River Bridge site. It
was determined that the fixed bridge and tunnel would have resulted in
significant land-takings, substantial alterations to the surrounding
neighborhoods and the need to relocate many local businesses. While
these options would allow uninterrupted vehicular traffic flow, the
community impacts, environmental impacts, and project costs were
determined to both be too high. In addition, a tunnel would not provide
bicycle or pedestrian accommodations. Based on this study, MassDOT
design team to determine the most appropriate movable
bridge type and to progress that design to the 25% level.
Q: The new bridge is going to be a vertical lift bridge. Will it be like the temporary structure?
The new, permanent vertical lift bridge will not resemble the
current temporary span in operation or appearance.
The temporary bridge has a number of problems including:
- A less-than-pleasing appearance;
- Difficulty of operation in cold weather and high
- A noisy ride for motorists and abutters;
- An undesirable roadway alignment for traffic;
- Slow opening and closing times; and
- A challenging inspection and maintenance regimen that
is expensive to MassDOT and inconvenient for motorists when lanes of
the bridge must be closed for inspection.
The majority of the problems associated with the
temporary bridge are due to the fact that it was designed for a fifteen
life span using economical construction typical of a temporary bridge.
A new, permanent vertical lift will be
designed to the latest standards and be attractive, provide a quieter
ride, open and close significantly faster than the current span,
under harsh weather conditions without difficulty and be much less
maintain, ending the regular half closures for inspection and repairs.
Q: Will the new bridge
A: The 1936 bridge had a steel open
which generated a characteristic hum. The current ACROW span bridge has
its own distinct set of noises because it has a steel plate deck system
which rattles when vehicles pass over it.
The proposed bridge will have a solid concrete deck that will
generate far less noise than either bridge as vehicles pass over it.
Q: Is there a member
of the project team responsible for giving the new bridge an attractive
A: Rosales + Partners, the design
team's bridge architect is internationally recognized for their
projects worldwide including the Zakim Bridge in Boston. Members of the
Rosales + Partners team have been informed of the comments received
from the public to date. They have attended meetings with the public to
address comments and have incorporated them to the fullest extent
possible. In addition, MassDOT has worked with the
local elected officials to ensure that architectural details are
incorporated into the design. Touchstone Architecture, a nationally recognized bridge architecture firm from Floria, is assisting the White-Skanska team to ensure that the high aesthetic standard set during the 25% design phase is continued throughout construction.
Q: The new
vertical lift bridge option offers a higher vertical clearance in the
closed position; how will this impact traffic flow?
A: The additional vertical clearance
offered by the vertical lift bridge means that most recreational
sailboats in the Fore River basin will be able to pass under the bridge while it remains in the
closed or "down" position. This will help to reduce the number of
bridge openings and keep traffic flowing over the bridge during the
summer when recreational sloops frequent the Fore River channel. Large
ships, like oil tankers, will still require a bridge opening.
Q: The duration of
bridge openings and the associated impact on my commute are my chief
concerns. How quickly will the new bridge open and close
A:When discussing a movable bridge,
engineers use the term "cycle time" to discuss how long it takes to
stop traffic, open the bridge, transit the vessel through the opened
bridge, close the bridge, and restart traffic. Thanks to modern lifting
machinery, the vertical lift bridge would be able to open in 2.5
minutes, allow a ship to pass and then close in 2.5 minutes.
This opening and closing time will be significantly shorter than the
current temporary bridge. The time taken for the ship to pass will vary depending on the type of vessel.
Q: Could the bridge be raised partially to facilitate the passage of smaller vessels that still require an opening and help get traffic moving again that much sooner?
A:According to 33 Code of Federal Regulations 117.5 a movable bridge must open fully when passage is requested by a vessel. As regards to a vertical lift bridge, the United States Coast Guard interprets this regulation as stipulating that the bridge must rise to its full air draught, or all the way up, for any vessel seeking to transit it.
Q: There are other
225-foot bascule bridges in the United States, so why didn't MassDOT
A:The bascule bridge alternative
presented in the EA had a 315-foot span length (trunnion-to-trunnion
distance) and 225-foot navigable opening width (horizontal channel
clearance). When the leaves rise into their near-vertical open
position, the supporting structure under the roadway deck extends
towards the navigation channel requiring the trunnions (points of
rotation) to be set back significantly from the edge of the navigation
This is true for all bascule bridges. Thus, bascule
bridges identified as having lengths of 225 ft. or greater actually span
much narrower navigation channels.
It is also important to note that some internet sources
for movable bridge data do not provide accurate information on bridge
To date the design team has only been able to confirm
the presence of one United States bascule bridge with a longer span
than the EA bascule alternative: the Charles Berry Bridge (CBB) in
Lorain, Ohio. This bridge was mentioned in the EA as an example
of the potential maintenance and replacement part issues associated
with bascule structures of extreme size. Because of current engineering
design standards, current code requirements, and the heavier weight
resulting from the increased live load requirements, the addition of
fatigue and seismic loadings to the design criteria, the increased wind
and other lateral load provisions, the wider bridge cross section to
meet current safety provisions (CBB is only 62 feet wide with four
travel lanes and two sidewalks, which would not meet current design
criteria, the closed deck system (CBB has an open grate deck, which
would not be acceptable to the community), and the much more
conservative mechanical design criteria in today's code, a bascule
bridge at the Fore River site would occupy a much larger footprint for
the supports and would entail much larger structural components and
mechanical equipment than at the CBB.
Questions About the Navigation Channel
Q: Why does the
horizontal channel clearance of the new bridge need to be wider than
the channel clearance of the 1936 bridge?
A: The 1936 bridge and its current
temporary replacement both provide ships with a 175-foot wide channel
clearance. As a result of numerous allisions (collisions by a ship) to the former and current
temporary bridge, it is generally agreed by both maritime stakeholders,
the United States Coast Guard and MassDOT that 175 feet does not
an adequate buffer for ships given the winds, cross currents and
geometry of the bridge location. The mariners had requested a 300-foot
wide navigation channel under the bridge; however, in the interests of
balancing the needs of all the users of the bridge, the new Fore River
Bridge will cross a channel width of 250 feet to safely
accommodate navigational needs.
Q: Why does the
navigation channel need to be so wide?
A: The existing navigation channels
approaching the bridge site measure at least 400 feet or more on the
inboard side of the bridge and measure 300 feet on the outbound side of
the turning basin immediately outboard of the bridge so the 175-foot
existing channel clearance represents a significant obstruction.
The proposed 250-foot channel width at the bridge site represents
a lessening of that restriction and will provide a safe navigation
Q: Did MassDOT
consider a 200-foot navigable opening width?
A: During the earlier stages of design
development, a 200-foot
navigable opening alternative was evaluated. However, there are
multiple challenges associated with a bridge providing a navigable
opening narrower than the 250-foot preferred alternative. In
order to fully understand the context of the horizontal channel opening
in a bridge replacement project over a navigable waterway, there are a
number of factors that must be considered, many of which relate
directly to the Project's ability to meet the Purpose and Need as
outlined in Chapter 2 of the EA. They include:
- Limiting conflicts between proposed work and existing
infrastructure in the waterway;
- Protecting the proposed bridge from damage caused by
allisions (collisions by a ship);
- Potentially accommodating future vessel types
deepening the channel);
- Achieving a navigable opening width acceptable to
marine users and applicable permitting agencies; and
- Maintaining consistency with CZM policies related to
the Designated Port Area.
Is Citgo the only stakeholder asking for a wider channel opening?
All maritime stakeholders,
including the United States Coast Guard, would prefer a wider channel
opening. The old Fore River Shipyard remains a Coastal Zone
Management-Designated Port Area and a new bridge that will exist for 75
years must not preclude renewed marine activity and/or water dependent
industrial uses at this site.
For more on what constitutes a Designated Port Area, please visit
the relevant section of the Office of Coastal Zone
Questions on Construction
Q: What are the project limits of work?
The total length of the Fore River Bridge project is 0.96 miles from the intersection of Washington Street/Cleverly Court in Quincy to the intersection of Bridge Street/Evans Street in Weymouth. This includes the temporary bridge, it's replacement, and the rotary in Quincy.
Q: How much will this
A: The winning bid by White-Skanska was
$244 million. In addition to the bid amount, MassDOT has an
allowance for items such as traffic police details, contractor
incentives and contingencies. This allowance totals approximately
$26 million. As such, the total contract value for the
replacement of the Fore River Bridge is around $272 million.
Approximately $213 million (roughly 80%) will be funded by
federal dollars, with the remaining 20% coming from the Commonwealth.
Anyone seeking further information about how the project is being
funded is welcome to contact us.
Will there be land takings associated with the new bridge?
The new bridge does not require takings of homes or businesses. Temporary
construction easements and/or sliver takings may be required.
How will you build the new bridge?
A: The Fore River Bridge is being constructed by a design/build team by a joint venture of J.F. White and Skanska-Koch. The design phase of the design/build process has been largely completed as of fall 2013. The project can be thought of as having 3 major phases. In the first phase, the bridge's towers are built. As the towers begin to take shape, approach spans will be erected from the towers towards the river banks. At the same time, the movable span will be constructed in the Fore River Shipyard. Once complete, it will be barged down the river and lifted into position.
The next phase consists of connecting the existing approach ramps to the new approach spans. This phase involves the temporary reduction of capacity on the existing bridge to a single lane in each direction. This period is anticipated to be approximately four months during the summer of 2015.
In the final phase, the existing temporary bridge is demolished and the waterfront amenities in Weymouth restored to their original condition.
Q:What will happen to traffic patterns during the four month period in 2015 when the temporary bridge is reduced to a single lane in each direction?
The design/build team has already established a set of locations for Variable Message Sign (VMS) boards along the the approaches to the Fore River Bridge which will warn motorists to divert, if possible, before reaching a point where they must either travel over the temporary bridge or abutting local streets in Quincy and Weymouth. Intersections that the project team believe to be along the most intuitive detour route, Route 53, Church Street and Green Street will begin receiving upgrades in the spring of 2014 to ensure that they can handle the projected diversion of traffic. The project team continues to coordinate with Braintree, Quincy and Weymouth to ensure that the four month diversion period has manageable impacts on these communities.
Public Involvement Process
Will you work with the community to address traffic during construction?
Yes. Throughout the public involvement
process, members of the design team have specifically welcomed members
of the community to send in their comments about the temporary
bridge construction process. The design team
also worked with the police departments and traffic engineering
staff in both Quincy and Weymouth to develop plans keep traffic moving during
construction. Now that the job has entered the design/build phase, the project team continues to coordinate with the abutting municipalities regarding construction period traffic.
Q: How are my comments
comments are important to the project team. During the design phase, the project team had to
number of federal agencies to obtain needed permits. These agencies
would not have
granted the needed permits had they determined that the public involvement process had not been
effective in responding to community concerns. All comments received were
incorporated into the design to the extent possible within the scope
of the project. In addition, public comments helped to form the special
provisions and specifications that the project team wrote into the
Comments continue to be welcome during the design/build
construction phase. If
you would like to add your comments
to those already received by the project team, please feel free to email or telephone the project's
involvement specialist. For immediate concerns regarding construction operations, we invite you to call the project hotline which is staffed whenever work is underway: 617-504-2924.
I am concerned about the environmental process. How can
I obtain copies of the data that went into the NEPA Environmental
and other permitting documents?
A: The Environmental Assessment (EA)
and supporting documentation was
completed in December 2010 and FHWA issued a Finding of No Significant
Impact (FONSI) in December 2011 in accordance with the NEPA process.
You can find more information about the NEPA process by
Federal Highway Administration web page. A
copy of the EA is available on this website. A copy of the FONSI and its supporting documentation
are also available.
Q: I submitted a
during the Environmental Assessment (EA) comment period (December 13,
2010 to January 26, 2011). What happened to my comment?
A: Whether you sent your comment on
the EA to MassDOT or FHWA, please be advised that both agencies
shared the comments they received to be sure they were
identified and reviewed. In consultation with FHWA, MassDOT
prepared responses to the comments received in compliance with NEPA
requirements. Your comment and its response
in the Responses to Comments on
the Environmental Assessment document are available from this website.