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Making an omelette without breaking any eggs
March 5, 2013 7:34 PM   Subscribe

After a century of neglect, plans are in place to rebuild the historic Longfellow Bridge, running between Boston and Cambridge. The reconstruction will take place in 6 stages, allowing two-way automobile and train traffic to continue throughout the three-year process. posted by alms (29 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
There's already a thread for the new SimCity, thanks. /hamburger

But what does "no fly zone" mean in this context?
posted by dhartung at 7:53 PM on March 5, 2013


"25 weekends" of suspended train service sounds a lot nicer than "six months", doesn't it? I wonder if Kendall through Alewife will still have trains or if it will be buses all the way to Park. I'd imagine that the weekday service will be similar to last time they did work on the bridge - trains crossing at 10 mph max, causing cascading delays through the entire Red Line.

Is there a mirror on the Globe story anywhere? I hit back to start my comment and now I can't return to the article because I'm "over my monthly allowance" for free articles.
posted by maryr at 7:59 PM on March 5, 2013


So ultimately still 4 riverphalluses, right?
posted by charlemangy at 8:00 PM on March 5, 2013


Salt and Pepper Shakers, thank you very much. I'm actually surprised that seeing them disassembled in the (excellent, by the way) video tugged at my heartstrings.
posted by maryr at 8:11 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Under all that traffic & all those trains is a really nice bridge. But man the Longfellow really punches above its weight.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:16 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I kept thinking the music in the animation was going to transition into Bridges, Squares.
posted by maryr at 8:24 PM on March 5, 2013


seeing them disassembled in the (excellent, by the way) video tugged at my heartstrings

Here my thought was "I get credits to rebuild these elsewhere in time for the next wave, right?"
posted by dhartung at 8:48 PM on March 5, 2013


Tangential, I know, but here is a selection of omelettes made inside unbroken eggshells.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:58 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I see no evidence to add Smoot measurements. IMHO, this is sorely lacking from this bridge.
posted by grajohnt at 12:29 AM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Thornton Melon: What's your favorite subject?

Bubbles: Poetry.

Thornton Melon: Really? Well, maybe you can help me straighten out my Longfellow.

--Rodney Dangerfield in "Back to School"
posted by chavenet at 2:45 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Smoots are only appropriate in the influence-zone of MIT. Also, the Longfellow is a much more interesting bridge than the Mass Ave. one, which is only notable for the Smooting.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:24 AM on March 6, 2013


The video is mesmerizing and while the mandate "The repair work [can] not interrupt weekday Red Line service and must allow for pedestrians and cyclists to traverse the bridge in both directions during the entire course of the project" is admirable and the plan impressively follows it, I still say...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
I have a hard time believing this won't fuck up my life considerably.
posted by bobobox at 4:57 AM on March 6, 2013


I'm excited for this. It's going to cause trouble for the next three years, but in the end we're going to have a sound bridge and extra cycling and pedestrian capacity. Biking over the Longfellow right now is basically not an option right now, and it's good to see that changing.

One of the reasons I love living around here is the commitment to expanding the infrastructure available for bikes and pedestrians, and I hope that continues.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:44 AM on March 6, 2013


I have a hard time believing this won't fuck up my life considerably.

Closing the bridge completely will fuck up your life considerably more, and that's exactly what will happen if they don't fix the bridge.

I am *very* annoyed with my fellow Chicagoans for the #LoopFail tag. Yes, it's annoying as hell to have the Wells St. Bridge closed for 9 days now and 9 days in April. But the bridge is 90 years old, CDOT is, for all intents, replacing the entire span, and while yes, losing the Ravenswood L's connection to the Loop does suck, losing it permanently would suck far more, and that's what happens when you just ignore things.

Plus, again, it's not like the CTA got a choice on this. CDOT closed the bridge. And it's *18 fucking days, people.*

As a bonus, the infamous Tower 18 tracks, where the Ravenswood and Lake St. L tracks meet the loop, are being relaid. You know, the one place on the system where a switch failure stops five of the eight lines on the CTA?? The one where that switching failure has become common because the tracks are shot, but no, we can't shut down that intersection!

#loopwin, dammit. It's a #loopwin.

Was the O'Hare track rebuild annoying as all fuck four years ago? You bet. What do we have now? 30 minutes or less from Logan Square to the O'Hare terminals, 20 minutes to downtown.

The Dan Ryan Track rebuild? It will suck, hard, for five months. Then the speed of the Red Line will quite literally *triple* since it won't be stuck doing 15mph for vast sections of track.

It's not just lack of maintenance. Transportation infrastructure has a lifetime, and a lot of it has been exceeded. We should be celebrating when we're getting those replaced so we can count on the systems working for the next 90 years, not bitching because life sucks for a few months.

Or, in the case of the Wells St. project, a few days. #LoopFail? No, #LoopRiderFail.

I'm excited for this. It's going to cause trouble for the next three years, but in the end we're going to have a sound bridge and extra cycling and pedestrian capacity.

You, sir, have the right attitude.
posted by eriko at 6:06 AM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Thinking of all the hard-won Big Dig expertise and how this is a piece of cake by comparison.
posted by whuppy at 6:58 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, that will suck for a while, but overall I think it'll be a good improvement.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:02 AM on March 6, 2013


I've never been so happy that I don't take the Red Line on any kind of regular basis.

(Also happy that they're fixing the bridge too.)
posted by sonika at 7:36 AM on March 6, 2013


I am so glad I don't work in Cambridge anymore. But I will be happy to see the new, improved Longfellow! It's needed this for a long, long time.
posted by sarcasticah at 8:06 AM on March 6, 2013


"allowing two-way automobile and train traffic to continue throughout the three-year process."

That's not what I read. It says they will close virtually all northbound traffic during construction. That's madness. It will mess up Storrow, The Harvard (Mass. Ave.) Bridge, and Memorial as people seek to get to the other side.

As far as increased bike access. This will come at the cost of motor vehicle access. This will also endanger any cyclist who attempts to cross on the bridge since the approaches and exits were designed for cars and will remain as is.
posted by Gungho at 8:18 AM on March 6, 2013


No one has asked the price. This will make the Big Dig look like child's play.
posted by Old Timer at 9:08 AM on March 6, 2013


... I think you are seriously overestimating the cost for this, or radically underestimating the cost of the Big Dig.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:40 AM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, the inconvenience of fixing the damn thing is nothing next to the (inevitable if repairs aren't made) inconvenience of the damn thing falling in the river. I really have to go to my happy place crossing it on the T after hearing detailed reports of the bridge's "stability."
posted by sonika at 9:59 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The article said the contract was for something on the order of $260 million, IIRC.

Smoots are only appropriate in the influence-zone of MIT.

Have you noticed that Kendall is now "Kendall/MIT" ? The Longfellow is well within the MIT sphere. In fact, I once witnessed an unofficial (cough) MIT event on that bridge where sodium was the safer substance dropped into the water. The home made depth charge off the hundred plus year old bridge was a TERRIBLE idea and cannot have helped anything. (It was loud. The bridge shook a little.)
posted by maryr at 10:41 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]



No one has asked the price. This will make the Big Dig look like child's play.

Huh?

... analysis that said fixing the Longfellow would cost about $700 million.

]The Boston Globe estimated that the (Big Dig) will ultimately cost $22 billion, including interest, and that it will not be paid off until 2038.[8
posted by R. Mutt at 11:44 AM on March 6, 2013


As maryr says, one end of the Longfellow is anchored by the east side of MIT. What's most galling is that the "Harvard Bridge" has a lot more to do with MIT than Harvard.

I get a little misty-eyed thinking about how I walked over the Smoot markings every day, but then I remember what it was like walking across the Harvard Bridge in a raging Nor'Easter, and the sentimentality immediately ceases and becomes an involuntary shiver.
posted by grajohnt at 1:46 PM on March 6, 2013


When the Harvard Bridge was built in 1891, MIT still lived in Boston. It didn't move to Cambridge until 1916.
posted by maryr at 2:02 PM on March 6, 2013


Be of good cheer, Bostonians. here is the similar style video for the widening of the Huey P. Long bridge at New Orleans, a 7-year project which will be wrapping up this summer. It's a huge project and has caused remarkably little disruption in traffic despite the massive change it effected to profile of the bridge.
posted by localroger at 4:26 PM on March 6, 2013


In fact, I once witnessed an unofficial (cough) MIT event on that bridge where sodium was the safer substance dropped into the water.

I Have To Fling Potassium.
posted by eriko at 7:46 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Longfellow's still a better choice than the Harvard Bridge.
posted by maryr at 8:35 PM on March 7, 2013


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