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about the projectsPROJECT OVERVIEW

Revised Project Timetable

Construction of the Fore River Bridge is approximately 650 days (roughly 1 and three quarter years) behind schedule due to fabrication issues with the counterweight sheaves and the time needed to manufacture and deliver replacements for them. The sheaves are an essential component of the bridge designed to last for the structure's lifespan. As of February, 2016, the following elements of the project are complete:

  • All foundations and steel erection for the Quincy and Weymouth towers;
  • Installation of replacement sheaves in both towers;
  • Construction of the bridge's lifting span in the Fore River Shipyard;
  • The majority of retained approach roadway work in Quincy and Weymouth;
  • Installation of permanent drainage and utilities within the Quincy rotary;
  • The northerly dolphin and fender system to protect the new bridge from collisions with ships; and,
  • Off-site intersection improvements for the switch-over period between the current temporary structure and its permanent replacement.

Based on the time lost, major anticipated events for the project are now expected to run as follows:

  • Completion of the Quincy and Weymouth approach spans - August 2016.
  • Float-in of the lift span - August 2016.
  • Completion of mechanical and electrical work in both towers - December, 2016.
  • Completion of roadway utilities, curbs, and sidewalks - March, 2017.
  • Finish placement of roadway decks on the approach and lifting spans - April, 2017.
  • Reduced capacity on Route 3A associated with transitioning from the temporary bridge to the new structure - May, 2017.
  • Full beneficial use - June, 2018

The project team is and will continue to make every prudent, feasible, and safe effort to reduce the project's overall delay. Any efforts undertaken to reduce the overall timetable will be balanced against the quality of life for project abutters.

Project Background

The Fore River Bridge carries Route 3A over the Fore River between Quincy and Weymouth. The new bridge will be the third movable bridge at this location, the first being a swing bridge constructed in the early 20th century. The 1902 swing bridge was replaced by a bascule bridge in 1936 when it was determined that the earlier bridge presented a hazard to navigation of the river. In the late 1990's the 1936 bridge was found to be badly deteriorated and in 2002, traffic was directed off it and onto the current temporary bridge. In 2004, after appropriate historical documentation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the 1936 span was demolished. Though the temporary bridge is safe today and regularly inspected by MassDOT, it is rapidly reaching the end of its useful life and must be replaced. The new permanent vertical lift bridge will cost approximately $244 million to build and will carry the 32,000 vehicles that use the 3A corridor for at least 75 years to come.

The replacement of the Fore River Bridge offers MassDOT the chance to replace a structurally deficient bridge and address several problems associated with the area immediately surrounding it:

  • The current temporary bridge is several hundred feet south of the alignment of the 1936 bridge and the abutting sections of Route 3A. The new bridge will be built on the footprint on the 1936 structure providing motorists with a straight right-of-way.
  • At present, bicycle and pedestrian accommodations on the Fore River Bridge are minimal at best. The new bridge will provide ADA-compliant sidewalks and a bicycle accommodating shoulder in both directions.
  • Improve the horizontal channel clearance from the current 175 feet up to 250 feet, providing better access to the Fore River's Designated Port Area (DPA).
  • Improve the vertical clearance in the closed position to 60 feet, allowing almost all of the sailboats in the Fore River basin to pass beneath the bridge without requiring an opening, thereby reducing impacts to traffic.
  • The temporary bridge's riding surface is composed of individual metal plates which generate significant noise as vehicles pass over them. The new bridge will have a quiet-riding asphalt deck.
  • As a temporary bridge, the current span requires frequent partial closures for maintenance and functions poorly in cold and/or windy weather. The new, permanent bridge will be built to the latest standards and will function correctly under harsh conditions while requiring less maintenance.
  • Currently, stormwater exits the bridge directly into the Fore River. The new bridge will collect stormwater and pipe it to treatment swales prior to discharge.

Dimensions of the New Bridge

The replacement bridge will consist of three approach spans on the Quincy side, a main span with the lift towers at either end of it, and three approach spans on the Weymouth side. The bridge will consists of two 12-foot eastbound and two 12-foot westbound lanes, a 5-foot bicycle lane in both directions and a sidewalk in both directions. On the movable section of the bridge, the sidewalk will be 6 and ½ feet wide, but increase to 9 feet on the approach spans. The vertical lift type was selected based on the ability to minimize environmental and right-of-way impacts, the ability to use accelerated construction techniques, construction and life-cycle costs, ease of construction staging and the public desire for fewer bridge openings. Building the new Fore River Bridge will not require any takings of homes or businesses. Some temporary easements or strip takings may be required.

Involving the Public

MassDOT and its design team are committed to the meaningful involvement of abutters, boaters, commuters and local businesses. As the project moves into major construction next spring, the community can expect updates regarding project milestones via this website, local media, public information meetings or targeted briefings, MassDOT social media and email bursts. If you have questions, concerns we invite you to contact our public involvement specialist or make use of project hotline (617-504-2924) which is staffed whenever the job is in operation. If you wish to add yourself to the stakeholder database and receive updates regarding project milestones and upcoming meetings, please use our web-based sign-up tool.

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