Crews replace 1911-built Boston T bridge in just 56 hours

An MBTA Red Line bridge in Dorchester built in 1911 is being replaced in just 56 hours with a new $5 million pre-assembled structure that was wheeled into place by a special giant transporter after demolition of the old bridge was completed yesterday, state transportation officials said.

“This is an extreme makeover project that will save the taxpayers money,” said Department of Transportation Secretary Richard A. Davey. “This is a short-term inconvenience, but for a bridge that’s going to last 75 years, it’s a good long-term investment for our customers.”

This was the first time the construction technique has been used to replace an MBTA bridge, officials said, and construction crews worked nonstop since Friday night to replace the 102-year-old Clayton Street bridge, hoping to conclude by tomorrow morning’s rush hour.

“If we did this the conventional, traditional way, it would have taken another eight to 10 months … and upwards of $7 (million) or $8 million,” said Davey.
Established in 2008, the state’s $3 billion bridge program has repaired nearly 140 bridges across the state, with another 120 slated for repair or replacement, MassDOT officials said.

Last night, crews used what’s called a self-propelled modular transporter to carry the new bridge less than 100 feet along Clayton Street, then lowered it into position at the intersection of Clayton and Dickens streets.

“We’re working around the clock here to get out as fast as possible so the neighborhood can get back to normal,” said design consultant Daniel Deng. “The whole street is going to be a better and safer place.”