The Chelsea Street Bridge will be closed every night this week for mechanical and electrical systems calibration and adjustments, according to MassDOT officials. The closures will be every night from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
All traffic will be detoured to McClellan Highway.
The $125.3 million project to replace the aging bridge with a state-of-the-art vertical lift structure reopened to vehicular traffic in May 2012. But since the opening there have been periodic closures of the bridge usually at night and on the weekends.
The project was funded to address long-standing issues caused by the narrow passageway used by oil tankers that resulted in accidents. Since 1972, there have been 133 incidents in which ships, tugs or barges have struck the bridge. The new bridge has an environmental as well as a safety component, as the reduced potential for collisions will diminish the threat of oil spills. In June 2000, a tanker collision spilled 50,000 gallons of fuel oil, closing the waterway and delaying aviation fuel deliveries for three days.
The new bridge is the largest permanent lift bridge built in Massachusetts to date. The project includes a truss-type structure that spans 450 feet and provides 175 feet of vertical clearance when raised. The new bridge and approach roadway provides two lanes of traffic in each direction and two pedestrian sidewalks.
To accommodate the massive size and tight space constraints in the bridge area, MassDOT contractors J. F. White Contracting Co. of Framingham used an innovative technique of launching the truss across the river. The launching sequence of the truss bridge across the channel was carefully designed to minimize disruption of the navigation channel below.
The project also addresses safety and the environment, improving longstanding issues caused by the narrow passageway used by oil tankers that resulted in accidents and the potential for oil spills.
The Chelsea Street Bridge will be closed at night for the rest of the week. The closures will occur from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night.