North Washington St Bridge

as02143

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I mean this sincerely: For such an unremarkable span and an uninspiring design, the construction of this bridge should have lasted one week. It's some tub girders with some fake architectural steel.
That's the problem with bridges that require renderite for construction.
 

dhawkins

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I would like to shake the hand of the inspector that founds these "toe cracks". First of all who looks that closely at welds to the recolonize those small cracks (hundreds of welds, and 100s of feet of them) . Second, to have the cohones to call out the contractor on work that is less than specified, especially when its causes delays and runs into lawsuits. Nobody really wants to be that guy, but thankfully this inspector was there.
 

bigpicture7

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I would like to shake the hand of the inspector that founds these "toe cracks". First of all who looks that closely at welds to the recolonize those small cracks (hundreds of welds, and 100s of feet of them) . Second, to have the cohones to call out the contractor on work that is less than specified, especially when its causes delays and runs into lawsuits. Nobody really wants to be that guy, but thankfully this inspector was there.
Thank you for posting this. While many are (rightly) quite pissed about this design failure, it is critical to recognize that a part of the system worked exactly how it should have here, which is that the error got caught well before the bridge got put into service. A professional was doing their job and serving the public. And we can rest assured that what was caught was real, because these things always get a second (+third) look once raised and we wouldn't be talking about E&O insurance if this was merely one inspector being overly zealous.
 

Rhino

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FYI - I reached out to MADOT again a couple weeks ago via phone/email and never got a response, but they just announced a virtual public info meeting set for Tuesday, 10/18 at 6:30 and Wednesday, 10/19 at 6:30. To register for Tuesday's meeting, go to virtualmeeting.link/NWSB-Public-1. To register for Wednesdays meeting, got to virtualmeeting.link/NWSB-Public-2.
The meeting/presentation was actually well done with more detail than I had anticipated (low expectations). For those that weren't able to attend, but are interested in what was said, I've attached pics of the presentation below. In short, the bridge is delayed by almost two years - it is now scheduled to fully open in December 2024 (I believe it was originally scheduled to open in Feb 2023). The east side of the bridge is scheduled to open in December 2023 which will be a huge improvement as it will provide much better connections between North End and Charlestown (people won't have to cross two busy intersections and the bike lane on the bridge will connect (kinda) to the bike lane around the border of the North End).

Although the presentation was well done, it's still inexcusable (IMO) that it took MADOT 13 months to officially notify the public about the issue. I understand not wanting to alarm the public and get bombarded with questions before you have answers, but they should have notified everyone at least by January 2022 when they had determined the root cause of the issue. They could have simply told the public that (1) they identified an issue with the welding, (2) they were now investigating solutions, (3) they expected to have more info in a few months, and (4) that they would continually update people every few months.

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xec

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The state should just shut down the MCCA, the MBTA, MassDOT, etc. and hand all their functions and responsibilities over to Massport. Out of all these agencies, it's the only one that seems to have some competence at getting things done right.
 

Delvin4519

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So this means the new bus lanes won't be operational for 2.5 more years? Until the start of 2025?

After the COVID pandemic, the MBTA has cut route 92 and 93 service from every 18 - 22 minutes pre-COVID; to 40 - 50 minute frequency nowadays. Rush hour service is every 25 minutes now, compared to every 7-8 minutes peak service pre-COVID. Sunday service for the 93 bus now is only once every hour or so, compared to every 40 minutes pre-COVID. And this is for a route that's just under 2 miles between Sullivan and Haymarket, running only hourly on Sundays.

And given the sidewalk and crosswalk conditions of the tempoary bridge, plus the bus lane delays on the bridge for route 92/93 buses, travel times from the tail end of the Navy Yard to North Station/Haymarket, a distance of about 1.1 - 1.5 miles, will be about 30-45 minutes.

Kinda insane all of these changes only reinforce car dependency in Charlestown for the next 2 - 3 years, only making the traffic problems worse for the tempoary bridge, which makes existing bus service worse, and the cycle continues. I'd argue that given the construction of the bridge is happening concurrently with the Gov't Ctr Garage redevelopment at Haymarket with street closures, that the MBTA ought to just run double the buses between Haymarket and Sullivan, removing the portion of the routes south of Haymarket (that portion is concurrent with the Orange/Green/Blue lines). But that's a pipeline dream until the new bridge's bus lanes are complete, so.

The bike lane construction on the new bridge is going to connect to the Rutherford Ave. road diet bike lanes sometime after 2025, but it doesn't help the Navy Yard, where Chelsea St. is more of a high speed racetrack kind of suburban arterial highway, separating the Navy Yard from Bunker Hill.
 

ant8904

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The state should just shut down the MCCA, the MBTA, MassDOT, etc. and hand all their functions and responsibilities over to Massport. Out of all these agencies, it's the only one that seems to have some competence at getting things done right.
I have to personally speculate that part of the reason why Massport that seem to display some competence is because Massport has a self-sustaining amount of income. To be clear, I don't think the lesson is just fund the other agencies and departments. Funding matters, but competence is intertwined with funding too. Underfunding doesn't just mean unable to afford projects and maintenance, but also the competence of the personnel declines too. So just rubber banding new funds won't immediately makes all the projects and maintenance start following either. It is a lot harder to measure competence versus funding.

Handing over everything to Massport will just overwhelm them to spiral into the same problems (though maybe their competences will show through for a duration before competence crashes as people jump ship). Meanwhile more funds doesn't necessarily translates for seeing more competence in the other agencies and departments either.

Edit: grammar
 
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Jahvon09

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Were these hairline cracks discovered in the girders themselves? And how on earth did this mishap get by the inspectors? I thought that the work was being inspected before being assembled. :unsure:
 

ant8904

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The bike lane construction on the new bridge is going to connect to the Rutherford Ave. road diet bike lanes sometime after 2025, but it doesn't help the Navy Yard, where Chelsea St. is more of a high speed racetrack kind of suburban arterial highway, separating the Navy Yard from Bunker Hill.
I hope they don't forget the pedestrian walkway bridge that used to exist under the old Washington St Bridge. I recall that is still in the plans but I think after

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And how on earth did this mishap get by the inspectors?
They didn't get past the inspectors. These are the type of things is one of those things that might not get noticed until after the ribbon cutting is done which would be an even bigger nightmare or possibly a total disaster. Such incidents has happen in other states and countries, it is ironic, but catching this now is a reflection of the level of inspection in the state. It would more be ideal if this was caught earlier, but we have inspections at different stages for a reason - barring someone who is able to explain to me inspectors should have been able to catch this earlier within our current operating procedures, but I'm not going to presume negligence is that implied in that question. Especially given incentive to be willfully ignorant versus catching these type of defects and mitigating this now rather than after the ribbon cutting.
 

Patrick Winn

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I hope they don't forget the pedestrian walkway bridge that used to exist under the old Washington St Bridge. I recall that is still in the plans but I think after

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They didn't get past the inspectors. These are the type of things is one of those things that might not get noticed until after the ribbon cutting is done which would be an even bigger nightmare or possibly a total disaster. Such incidents has happen in other states and countries, it is ironic, but catching this now is a reflection of the level of inspection in the state. It would more be ideal if this was caught earlier, but we have inspections at different stages for a reason - barring someone who is able to explain to me inspectors should have been able to catch this earlier within our current operating procedures, but I'm not going to presume negligence is that implied in that question. Especially given incentive to be willfully ignorant versus catching these type of defects and mitigating this now rather than after the ribbon cutting.
I have no expertise here, but the cracks look pretty obvious in the photos. And there are reportedly 192 spots where it's cracked/cracking. I'm having a hard time being impressed by anyone associated with this project. Does anyone know what caused these "toe cracks?" I don't recall anything in the presentation that speaks to why the material cracked in the first place.
 

JeffDowntown

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I have no expertise here, but the cracks look pretty obvious in the photos. And there are reportedly 192 spots where it's cracked/cracking. I'm having a hard time being impressed by anyone associated with this project. Does anyone know what caused these "toe cracks?" I don't recall anything in the presentation that speaks to why the material cracked in the first place.
Go back to post #376 for a basic explanation of what appears to have happened.
It will probably be years in court before actual blame is assigned, but it seems to be a design fault, either in aesthetic tub girders requiring thick diaphragm design or weld design (or both).

Welds are failing due to uneven heating then cooling of the thick materials.
 

king_vibe

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Go back to post #376 for a basic explanation of what appears to have happened.
It will probably be years in court before actual blame is assigned, but it seems to be a design fault, either in aesthetic tub girders requiring thick diaphragm design or weld design (or both).

Welds are failing due to uneven heating then cooling of the thick materials.
No such thing as "aesthetic tub girders." This is a highway overpass.

Heating and cooling of welds is an issue that has been known about for at least 80 years.

Again, for the middling design goal, this could have been done in a single week.
 

JeffDowntown

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No such thing as "aesthetic tub girders." This is a highway overpass.

Heating and cooling of welds is an issue that has been known about for at least 80 years.

Again, for the middling design goal, this could have been done in a single week.
Well whether you believe it or not, the City and Commonwealth had aesthetic as well as functional goals for the design. And somewhere between the design and structural engineering firms they screwed up the non-standard weld planning (the type of design used here is not common, but apparently was not accounted for in the weld planning and instructions.)

Sure weld heating and cooling is a well known issue, but the MAGNITUDE of the issue here was unexpected (whether it should have been or not).

Clearly somebody screwed up. But I really doubt you or anyone could do this in a week :rolleyes:
 

king_vibe

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Well whether you believe it or not, the City and Commonwealth had aesthetic as well as functional goals for the design. And somewhere between the design and structural engineering firms they screwed up the non-standard weld planning (the type of design used here is not common, but apparently was not accounted for in the weld planning and instructions.)

Sure weld heating and cooling is a well known issue, but the MAGNITUDE of the issue here was unexpected (whether it should have been or not).

Clearly somebody screwed up. But I really doubt you or anyone could do this in a week :rolleyes:
I personally don't believe that anyone had aesthetic goals for the design because it looks like a highway overpass.

It really should not have been unexpected by neither the engineer nor the state. Full penetration welding of thick plates meeting AWS D1.5 requirements is so difficult and costly that it should have never even been an option. If these loads cracked from differential heating/cooling, I can't imagine how badly they would have cracked over time due to fatigue.

This could absolutely be done in a week using accelerated bridge construction processes, especially for such a basic structure. The piers would obviously take much longer to build, but ABC projects even here in Massachusetts have been built in a weekend.
 

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