Under the boardwalk

Construction workers sink one of many support posts for a boardwalk along the Alewife brook north of the Henderson St. Bridge. The boardwalk will be suspended over the bank.

As DCR Planner Dan Driscoll promised last March, work is finally under way on the stretch of Alewife path between Broadway and the Henderson St. Bridge.

Building a form

This quarter-mile link will knit the north and south ends of the new greenway. It’s the single largest unfinished bit of business on the path, though many smaller ones also remain.

This stretch is also not without interest, as it will include a boardwalk segment cantilevered high over the Somerville bank of the Alewife Brook, and perhaps even over the brook itself.

The small photo above, taken the morning of June 21, shows workers building a plywood form for what will be a concrete anchor for the boardwalk. These photos are all taken from the Henderson Street Bridge, which spans the Alewife just north of my house in East Arlington.

Two slabs of granite will serve as a durable curb at the end of a boardwalk segment. View is more or less east from the Henderson St. Bridge on June 21. The bridge railing is visible at lower right.

Concrete dries inside this form on June 22.

The above photo provides a better look at one of these wooden forms, including the granite slabs that will comprise a sort of flush curb in the concrete anchor for the boardwalk segment.

The forms are removed once the concrete hardens. June 25

Here’s what it looked like the next day, and a few days later with the forms removed.

Note the rebar-like bits sticking up from the concrete, which will be used to anchor the end of the boardwalk.

(Click any photo forĀ  close-up.)

Completed form June 21

The new anchor on June 25

Work progressed similarly at the northern end.

Work continues June 27.

For most of the week of June 25, work consisted of sinking the metal supports for the boardwalk, as in the very first photo in this report (which dates from June 26).

Unlike the supports for the ramp south of the bridge, which had multiple rows of supports at many different angles, this boardwalk is apparently going to rest on only a single row.

The next week, which was last week, saw the posts get capped with supporting hardware. Also a backhoe came in and removed a lot of grass and weeds. I’ll just let the photos tell the story:

Work reached the northern anchor June 28

These brackets will hold the support beams for the boardwalk. July 2.

This earth mover made its debut on July 5. Note all the brush.

That backhoe cleared away all of the greenery. Also note the old railing below grade.

Do you see how the support brackets are below grade? Visualize where the ten-foot-wide boardwalk will fit.

Looking north on June 5.

Backhoe at work by the northern anchor on July 6.

More to come.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this as much as I. This and the other Alewife posts (previous, first, all) are a shamelessly undisciplined departure from the true purpose of this blog, which is (ahem) about Mass. Ave. Consider it a break from the serious stuff.

Update: Photos of the next busy week of work are here.


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