It’s Bove, by Jove

. . . or, to be more precise, eight sign-holding Bove supporters & the BoveMobile (and one child who looked a bit antsy).  There were two adults each on the four corners at Gates Lane/Curtis Parkway/Main St. today, already in place by the start of evening rush hour, and waving to passersby.

Burns Bridge – Sept 8 – additional notes

Frequent commenter Joe C. attended the site walk, and here are his notes; Angela’s notes were posted earlier today.

Site Walk notes:
Reps from DOT, Engineering firm (TranSystems)
Mayor O’Brien was there (for at least part of the walk)
Seemed to be about 10 “Civilians” there at the start
Broke into 3 groups for the walk- there ended up being about 10 people in each group
My group picked up 3-5 additional people walking from the park to Vinny T’s

Not much additional information (besides what’s available on the web) provided by the engineer leading the walk.
(He was nice, just most of the people were asking questions that could be answered by available documents)

Meeting notes:
Not sure what the point of “MEPA” (Mass. Environmental Policy Act) site walk was- maybe it’s just required?
(Nicole’s comment: I believe that is the case.  Perhaps someone reading knows more than we do & can enlighten us!)

This is being addressed by Bill’s presentation (9.4MB .pdf)

Alignment 2 is what the engineers are focusing on.
Advantages- no temporary bridge

The design team is  recommending the 5-span Steel deck arch based on price schedule, underside clearance, visibility.
5-span haunched girder is close second.

Attempting to match aesthetics:
Stamped brick to match Shrewsbury
Fancy light poles/fixtures (to match Shrewsbury, Worcester may be doing the same thing?)

Environmental impact study:
Bill (?) from Transystems
Chapter 91 license (Quinsigamond is a “Great Pond”)
Less impact on the lake- smaller and fewer piers
Ramshorn Island is listed as a Worcester park
Will make island smaller to restore flow (there is currently no flow)
No more pedestrian access to the island
Existing Bridge is eligible for National Historic Places listing
(requires section 106 process)
MOA=Memorandum of agreement (between DOT and Historical societies)
Hope to receive MEPA certificate Sept 24.

Some people asking about existing stormwater from the Worcester side (existing vortex separator)
The existing outfall is a riprap swale under the bridge
That may need to be modified, but the infrastructure will be substantially the same.

Rep. O’Day was asking about local labor and fabrication- there is a “Buy American” clause in spec, but no “local” specification

Someone asked about Cables for rowing Buoys (lanes)

Someone complaining about the aesthetics (a mishmash of styles)
Response: the design is preliminary, done by engineers, the architect will start to polish it up now that there is a preferred design alternative

Construction management will be managed by the Mass DOT office on Belmont Street
Local business owner (Sneakerama) wants Satellite parking for construction workers during construction. When Belmont street work was being done last year, many (limited) parking spaces were taken.

Design public hearing this winter.

No free wireless at Voke? (need password)
(Nicole’s comment: perhaps Tracy can weigh in on this…)

My questions:
Rendering seems to show short piers- engineer talked about 6’ out of water to keep people off the structure during the site walk.

Left turns on Belmont street- both directions.

The eastbound collector lane is often not full, but blocked by cars waiting to go straight, you get stuck waiting for 2 cycles

Left Turn westbound is essential: it’s really hard to do the U-turn on Lake Ave at high traffic times- you need to cross 3 lanes of traffic backed up at the light.

The engineers said that the left turn collector westbound is sized appropriately (it looks small to me)
(Nicole: I agree with Joe on this — it seems small to me too)

Left hand turn lane for Lake Ave South is often full at peak traffic times- it blocks people in the left lane (before it splits to 3) from going straight.

Burns Bridge Meeting – September 8

Note to those who are interested in the Burns Bridge: email Stephanie Boundy at MassDOT to get on the project list for the Kenneth F. Burns Bridge Replacement Project.

Also, here’s a T&G article with information about Burns; information about logging into Proquest here.

Here are frequent commenter (and cousin-of-the-blog) Angela’s notes from last night’s meeting; I’ll update this post with commenter Joe’s notes when I get them.  (In case you’re wondering, if you’re of a certain ethnic persuasion in this city, you’re likely my cousin in one of three ways: (1) you’re my distant cousin, (2) you’re married to my distant cousin, or (3) your grandmother and my great-grandfather are from the same village in the old country, and it’s shorter to say “cousin” than to explain that relationship.  Angela got upgraded (or, some might say, downgraded) from #3 to #2 about ten years ago.)

Angela’s Notes
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get to the site walk at the bridge; however, I did go to the meeting tonight which was the MEPA scoping and public information meeting. 

Michael O’Dowd from Mass. DOT spoke about the ABP (Accelerated Bridge Program) in general, and this project in more detail.  He stated he is managing this project for DOT.  Ann Canady from MEPA stated that any comments to MEPA should be in written form and sent by 9/14/10.  Most of this had to do with permitting processes, etc.

TransSystems has been selected as the consultant team by DOT for the preliminary design and bridge type study and sketches.  Gary Bua and Bill Grace (?) from TransSystems were present and provided a presentation including the project history, project scope and specific bridge designs which have been considered.  You have previously given us much information regarding the three types of bridges being considered, but just to recap, they are:

 1. Haunched Girders

2. Steel Deck Arch

3. Through Arch

These guys provided various matrices with bridge type, cost, vertical clearance, length of construction and whether a temporary bridge is necessary.  The bridge will be 3 lanes in each direction and will actually be 2 separate bridges with a 19 foot gap between.  The bridge will be widened from its current 68 feet to 124 feet (one side 60 ft. wide, the other side 64 feet wide, and the 19 foot gap as noted above).   The drawings showed 8 foot shoulders on either side allowing for bicycle traffic as well as widened sidewalks (I’m not sure of the width, but I think 6 feet each).  Of visual interest was the under-deck lighting, the light posts on the ”bump-outs” and the railings.

The steel deck arch bridge is what is being recommended at this time.  (At least that is my take on the whole presentation and confirmed when I spoke to a DOT employee,)  The cost is ”moderate” with the haunched girder type classified as ”high” and the through arch classified as ”highest” (40% premium).  The vertical clearance will be 23 feet (as compared to the current 18 feet) and there will be no need for a temporary bridge.    

The length of construction was defined as 2-3 years (vs. 5 yrs for the through arch).

Several people spoke to the traffic issues, etc.  It was noted that  4 lanes will remain open throughout the construction of the new bridge and traffic is a major consideration for the design team as well as the DOT people.  They are looking at whether there will be a left-turn lane in the westbound lane to allow a left-hand turn onto Lake Ave.  Of concern if this happens is the length of the traffic signal cycling, especially if a third cycle of signals is added (East/West, North/South, left turns).

Another gentleman asked about attaching the cables for the boat lane markers to the piers as well as attaching the lane markers up on the railings (as they do now during the crew events).  It was indicated that this will continue with the new bridge and they are working with the crew event people. 

A business owner from Lake Ave. (Sneakerama) expressed his concern regarding limited parking and requested that there be some sort of shuttle parking for construction workers and police details.  He also asked whether there would be a liaison available during the construction to address any residential or local business concerns. 

I found it interesting that Mr. O’Dowd seemed somewhat surprised at the amount of pedestrian and bicycle traffic on that bridge.  I piped in my two cents regarding the elderly high-rise complex (11 Lake Ave.) and the number of health aides who walk across that bridge to shop for the folks in the building.  Just wanted to reinforce the fact that adequate sidewalk width and bike lanes are a necessity.

A design public hearing will take place in late fall or early winter according to Mr. O’Dowd.