Equipment Type

Contractor Error Puts Back Bridge Completion by One Year

Walsh Construction forfeits $7.2 million completion incentive

March 02, 2016

Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced the $81.8 million project rebuilding parts of the Boston Commonwealth Avenue Bridge will be delayed a year due to design errors made by the general contractor Walsh Construction's  engineering firm. Hopes were that portions of the bridge would be closed for construction this summer between July 21 and August 29, and for a few weeks more in summer 2017. These dates were originally chosen because the Boston Red Sox would be out of town, Boston University would not be in session, and because data revealed that traffic volumes are approximately 15 percent lower in the summer months compared with the fall. MassDOT has decided to postpone the two closure phases of the project by one year to July and August of 2017 and 2018.

The bridge carries rail and vehicle traffic and needs substantial repair due to deterioration and corrosion since it was built in 1965. One segment of the job involves replacing the concrete deck and steel beams on the bridge. Unfortunately, errors were made in the steel girder redesign by HDR, Inc,. Walsh's engineering arm, that lead to a fabricating delay. Walsh says the design flaws were corrected but the company will forfeit a $7.2 million incentive tied to the completion of the first phase in 2016.

The postponement means I-90 drivers will see some short-term traffic relief. MassDOT is currently in the process of reconstructing the I-90 median in the vicinity of Commonwealth Avenue, which included performing advanced work for the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Project. This project has required reducing I-90 from four travel lanes to three. Under the previous schedule this three lane configuration would have been maintained until the beginning of the first shutdown in August 2016.

Source: MassDOT blog

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