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Apparently, it’s going to cost $250 million in state dollars* to reconstruct the Longfellow Bridge, which goes from Cambridge to Boston. The bridge carries cars as well as the Red Line. And, there are sidewalks on either side. This is the “salt and pepper” bridge.

Whether or not the bridge is safe and renovation can wait a couple years is an open question. The Commonwealth says it is safe. The engineering firm it hired to assess the safety, says no, or, “probably not”, according to the Globe.

An independent inspection of the Longfellow Bridge found the span to be in worse condition than the state had previously determined, but officials dispute the findings and refused to release the report to the public for several months.
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The state spent $915,000 on the nearly four-month inspection last year by Jacobs Engineering Group. But state engineers refused to sign off on the report after it was submitted in January, saying that it overstated the dangers of deteriorating bridge components and failed to take into account the repairs already underway.

That’s disturbing. The idea that the state may be playing games with the results of the study.

Also upsetting is that the cost of replacing the bridge is $250 million in state dollars*.

I have a question, and I’m being serious. Is it necessary to replace this bridge? Really. Could we close it to auto traffic, and just leave it open to pedestrians and the subway? Would this reduce the cost of repairs? What exactly is the reason it will cost so much? The steel? The labor? What?

$250 million seems like a ridiculous amount of money for a bridge that’s probably a quarter-mile in length, total.

Wouldn’t it be great if it was “pedestrians-only”? It would be a great way to open up that area to more visitors and residents, alike.

I dunno. I’m not a traffic engineer or urban planner.

* $250 million in “state dollars” means, probably twice that, or $500 million, given that any estimate of cost is undoubtedly understated. Add in cost over-runs, repairing the “repairs”, etc., and the final cost will no doubt be twice the estimate, or more.

Source: ‘Serious’ Longfellow flaws cited in study; State disputes, delays report – By Stephanie Ebbert, The Boston Globe

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