MBTA Heads Beverly Drawbridge Replacement Project

📅 Wed April 05, 2017 - Northeast Edition #7
By Brenda Ruggiero


The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is heading a project that includes replacing a drawbridge swing span superstructure.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is heading a project that includes replacing a drawbridge swing span superstructure.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is heading a project that includes replacing a drawbridge swing span superstructure.

The Beverly Drawbridge carries the Rockport and Newburyport Commuter Rail Line over the Danvers River in Beverly, Mass., which is located in Essex County. In the past four years, there have reportedly been numerous service delays caused by malfunctions of the swing span, which was built in 1885 and is now more than 130 years old.

The swing span project began on March 15, 2016, and is scheduled for completion by Dec. 23, 2017. The full dollar amount is $16.1 million.

The contract calls for the replacement of Beverly Drawbridge swing span superstructure with a new mechanical and electrical system.

According to Lisa Battiston of MDTA communications, the main challenges with the project involve the 28-day shutdown of rail service for Contract 2 and the navigational channel for the removal and replacement of swing spans, as well as the coordination of the work to be completed within the 28-day shutdown of Contract 2.

"The Swing Span Superstructure will be fabricated in Alabama and will be floated out on a barge to Beverly for replacement," Battiston said.

G & G Steel is fabricating the swing span.

Battiston noted that a Gantry System will be used to remove and replace the swing span superstructure.

"The existing swing span structure was jacked to determine the dead load weight," she said.

HNTB Corporation was selected as the engineering firm responsible for the design of the overall project.

As part of the rehabilitation/replacement of the Beverly Drawbridge, the approach spans are planned to be rehabilitated consisting of concrete pile repairs. Also, full replacement of the steel superstructure swing span is to occur, including full replacement of mechanical components which include the hydraulic rail system, bridge wedges and swing span motor and mechanisms.

The full project scope has been split into two contracts, with the first contract to include approach span rehabilitation and the second to include the swing span superstructure/mechanical component replacement.

The contractor for Contract 1 is Middlesex Corp., and notice to proceed was given on Aug, 5, 2015. Final completion is set for Feb., 28, 2018. Work is continuing with concrete pile repair work within the navigational channel and north and south abutment repairs.

Contract 2 was awarded to JF White Contracting. This contract continues with various work activities on the bridge in preparation of removal of the existing swing span and the float-in of new swing span and testing. This work will require a 28-day shutdown of rail service along the Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail Lines proposed for July 10, 2017 through Aug. 6, 2017, with regular train service on Aug. 7, 2017.

The new swing span will be supported by the existing pivot pier, and other improvements in the area will include a new electrical room and generator and a remodeled control house.

According to J.F. White's website, work will consist of the complete replacement of the existing steel swing span with a new steel swing span for the two mainline railroad tracks, along with modifications to the existing center pivot pier to accommodate the new swing span superstructure. In addition, the contractor will replace the bridge's mechanical, electrical, bridge control and railroad signal components/systems.

Also required, will be a partial demolition of the existing pivot pier deck and existing access stairway, along with construction of a new steel support platform on the pivot pier to support the new electric room.

Modifications to the existing bridge tender's control house will include a new control panel and architectural, electrical and railroad signal upgrades. Marine work will involve the installation of new submersed conduits between the control house and the center pivot pier, as well as the removal of the existing swing span and installation of the new swing span.

Finally, miscellaneous repairs and replacements to the existing navigation channel timber fender systems and navigation lighting system will take place.