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.

4 thoughts on “Burns Bridge – Sept 8 – additional notes

  1. Tracy says:

    Yes, there is no public wifi at Tech. They do tend to be good about letting people on the guest network if they know you’ll be there ahead of time. Let me send something around about our having public meetings there.

  2. Angela says:

    I too thought the westbound left hand turn lane looked too small and conveyed this to Mr. O’Dowd. I related that Lake Ave. southbound is heavily traveled and that lane needs to accommadate more than 6-7 cars in order to prevent a backup in the left lane (not the turning lane, but the actual travel lane). He indicated that he wasn’t sure of the exact length, but thought it was at least 150 feet. How many cars will 150 feet accommodate? I believe that lane needs to be able to collect 15-20 cars to prevent backups. Is this realistic?

  3. john stewart says:

    why not route all the westbound left-turners into the right turn lane lane and then whip around on Lake Ave to go left

    • Joe says:


      I’d have to go back to my traffic engineering textbook (which is probably out of date), but I would think that even with the smallest car, you’d need a minimum of 20′ per vehicle, to allow for reasonable space in between parked cars. I think you’d be lucky to get 8 cars in 150′, less if they were all Hummers, more if they were Smart cars.

      I’ve been giving this more thought, and am hoping that this is all integrated with the upcoming Belmont Street rehab. The closing of the median openings at Alvarado Ave and Frank Street means that there are almost as many, if not more people taking U-turns (Eastbound to Westbound) and more people needing to get from Route 9 West into the Coburn Ave neighborhood, meaning more left turns Westbound onto Lake Ave south.

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