Many people drive over them every day.
And drivers probably don’t think about the safety of bridges in the Boston area.
But 7-Investigates found bridges with crumbling concrete, rusted rebar and corroded beams.
“This bridge needs, really, immediate attention,” said Ming Wang, distinguished professor of Civil Engineering at Northeastern University.
Prof Wang is an international bridge expert. And he assessed some local bridges.
Our first stop was in Andover where 495 crosses over Route 28 northbound.
The concrete columns are crumbling and these support beams have big gouges in them.
“That problem is very serious,” said Prof. Wang.
He pointed out one beam where a massive piece of concrete is missing.
“You need a new structure there,” said. Prof. Wang
We asked Prof. Wang to rate this situation on a scale of 1-10 , with 10 meaning the bridge needs immediate attention.
“This bridge is severely up to 8,” said Prof. Wang.
7News contacted the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
Officials say plans are in place to completely overhaul this bridge and five others in the area starting in 2024.
But that’s more than two years away.
This small bridge over Route 1 in Saugus has a potentially big problem.
“This one is the most serious,” said Prof. Wang.
Wang says if a vehicle carrying a heavy load drove across the bridge, this beam underneath might not hold up.
“It could fail at anytime,” said Prof. Wang.
On a scale of 1 to 10?
“Eight point five, to nine already.”
When state transportation officials learned what we found, they told us, “repairs are being scheduled.”
“It is very important to fix it up,” said Prof. Wang.
The Tobin Bridge in Chelsea is the state’s longest bridge – stretching more than two miles.
Wang found several parts of the famous structure he believes need attention.
“My God, all this concrete is crumbling,” said Prof. Wang.
Several concrete footings are deteriorating.
“This particular location is bad, it needs immediate attention,” said Prof. Wang.
Wang says the footings should be repaired and monitored.
And he says this huge concrete beam also needs to be fixed.
“This is one of the more critical conditions. The concrete will crumble someday,” said Prof. Wang.
“This is severe, between 8.5 to 9,” said Wang.
The state is scheduled to fix some of the concrete problems under the Tobin next March, but not this particular section.
After seeing Professor Wang’s findings the Department of Transportation told 7-Investigates, “MassDOT is scheduling inspectors to review the conditions identified by Professor Wang.”
More money is on the way to repair bridges across the Bay State. President Biden signed the new $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill into law this week. The White House says more than $1 billion is now dedicated to fixing Massachusetts bridges over the next five years.
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