Ramping up

Workers returned to the Alewife near my house in February to sink the metal supports for a boardwalk ramp on the Greenway trail following a thaw.

South from Henderson St.: Path work resumed in February

The view is facing south from just below where Henderson Street rises to cross the Alewife Brook.

Posts for the ramp

That rise is enough to require a ramp from the path below, and we are looking at a triangular wedge dug from the earth ending in the concrete form that was poured last September to support the ramp.

Posts waiting under the snow

You can also see the many metal posts that have been driven into the ground here. I believe this work began on February 6 or 7, after the thaw began, but judging by the snow the posts were delivered here back in January.

Crews added posts each day:

More posts, as of February 9; looking south from Henderson St.

On February 10 the work crew cut a path through the huge snowbanks at the foot of Cottage Ave.

Cottage Ave. snow bank cleared (looking east)

I didn’t see this done, but I guess a front-end loader can move snow and ice.

The path was cleared north as far as the ramp work, scraped down to the stone dust in places. Branches that had fallen onto the path in the bad weather were removed.

Ramp construction, on the path looking north (Henderson St. Bridge at right)

I’m not sure why this access was necessary, but it let me take this photo of the construction from the south. But, what are they doing?

North from Henderson St.: Brackets on the posts

The view from the north answered that question a little better.


The posts had been screwed further into the ground, and then capped with these squared-off U-brackets.

You know that I’d do anything for you, gentle reader, except for crashing an active construction site. So I had to return a little later to see exactly what it was that the guys were doing inside that wedge-shaped cut.

Slanted support posts (view looking north)

They’d been planting more posts. But these leaned and lurched like drunken sailors.

The sailors staggered forward over the next two working days:

The slanting supports fill the area to be under the ramp. South from Henderson St.

And then—worked stopped, leaving as a promise of things to come just one lone wooden support fitted into the brackets. (A work crew did come by on February 24, but only to clear from the path the sizable branches that had fallen off the trees during the hard winter.)

Although this is a blog about Mass. Ave., I seem to be posting these Alewife photos too. Here’s December’s report, here’s my first bunch of photos from when things began in July, and here are all the Alewife path reports, most-recent first.

Update: And here’s the next installment.


4 comments so far

  1. Mark Kaepplein on

    You’ve continued to do a great job documenting construction of the Greenway Path. Thanks for serving Arlington this way. Without access to detailed plans, projects are a mystery!

    On a somewhat related note (sorry), I wish Rt. 16 were getting widened! Traffic congestion going between Rt. 2 and I-93 creates spill-over through Arlington streets like Lake. and Pleasant/Mystic, via Mass Ave. In particular, oil/gasoline tanker trucks going to/from Everett/Chelsea end up on Pleasant St. because no good commercial alternative route exists. Rt. 16 is a parkway with a low railroad bridge. Congested Fresh Pond Parkway also puts traffic through Arlington, via Mass and Broadway. If both these routes were getting widened, downsizing Mass Ave in Arlington becomes much more attractive, especially since cycling on Mass Ave in Cambridge will be safer due to fewer cars there too! Us creating more congestion on our Mass Ave. and having it back-pressure into Cambridge won’t help. Cambridge is against all congestion relief…possibly until some big employers leave because of it.

    • Adam Auster on

      The Greenway posts are pure fun, and according the the web stats that WordPress provides are more popular than my oh-so-serious Mass. Ave. coverage.

      A humbling fact! But I’m glad people like the photos.

  2. Stephanie on

    I am also again, truly appreciative of your thorough documentation of this development in our neighborhood. Do you have any idea if there has been any progress on the other side of Mass Ave? Or when they will deal with the mess they made between the Henderson Bridge and Broadway?

    • Adam Auster on

      Thanks, Stephanie!

      I don’t know much more than I can see, but last December one of the crew chiefs told me they wanted to finish up this spring. They have been busy – and it is still winter.

      I go up to the Henderson Street bridge to take photos most late afternoons – the ramp they are building is starting to take shape – and I always walk a few extra feet and look north.

      There is nothing new to be seen along the brook that way, where so many trees were removed to make room for, as I understand it, some kind of suspension or cantilevering over the bank and maybe even the brook, to make the path wider.

      That said, work there could be going on right now for all that I know. It just hadn’t started as of yesterday.

      If anyone else has news or photos of other parts of the path I will be very pleased to post them.

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