The last Alewife link takes shape

Between the Alewife Brook and the parkway that bears the brook’s name, from the Henderson St. Bridge north to Broadway, is less than a quarter of a mile.

Construction has been heavy there this month on a path segment that will link the north and south halves of the Alewife Greenway.

Of this short length perhaps a third will be a boardwalk suspended over the bank, at the southern end. The rest was paved last week, and work on the supporting structure for the boardwalk also advanced.

On Monday morning wooden sheathing was put down for a small segment of concrete sidewalk that will sit at the southern entrance to the boardwalk segment. The concrete was poured by day’s end.

All of the photographs in this post were taken from the Henderson St. Bridge, the green side railing of which is visible in the foreground of some photos.

Partially paved AM July 11

Starting at the northern anchor for the boardwalk, work then moved north, pouring the first layer of asphalt.

The first layer is down July 11 PM

By mid-morning on Tuesday pavement covered something less than half of the way from the northern anchor for the boardwalk (still not built) to Broadway.

By the end of Tuesday, the asphalt reached all the way to Broadway.

All paved end of July 12.

However, if you look closely at the second photo at right you can tell that a second layer still remained unpoured: Note the utility-hole cover protruding from the surface.

The second layer was finished and rolled the next day, Wednesday. The utility hole is flush with the surface, in fact you can’t really see it from the bridge any more.

Not a bad week! But we’re not done with it.

Consider the following scene on the bank by the brook on Thursday morning.

The Somerville bank on the morning of July 13

The old metal fence is down, its parts stacked against the bank, and workers are busy with various activities. I’ll try to sort that for you, starting with the gent at far left near the top of the photo.

When I took this photo, I thought those sparks must be from a torch, and that this man was cutting away the old fence. After looking at the photo, I’m not so sure. He may be drilling into the concrete, or perhaps cutting with an electric saw.

In any case, the fence has been removed part way (leaving behind some old bolts sticking up from the concrete, not cut bits), and pairs of new bolts have been installed in the concrete bank at regular intervals.

Each pair of bolts is directly across from one of the metal support posts that were sunk last week. So it looks as though those posts won’t have to bear the entire weight of the boardwalk.

Working in the wake of the man in the first photo, from south to north, two men are bolting brackets to the concrete bank close to the bridge.

Meanwhile, two other workers are throwing the old fencing into a dump truck parked on Route 16.

The concrete bank is well below the grade of the road and the path. My guess is that the fence dates from a time when Route 16 was lower than today.

The brook was put into a concrete channel by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about 100 years ago. Perhaps the fence dates from then.

There is a second metal fence, also in the process of being removed, at grade. Both fences are visible in earlier photos.

By the end of Thursday there was a row of brackets on the lower bank along the path of the unbuilt boardwalk.

However, this photo showing the brackets was taken on Friday morning, when the light was better.  The photo also shows the ends of wooden supports that will fit into the brackets.

My final photo shows the state of things at the end of the day on Friday. The  posts, which look to be 6×6 or maybe 8×8 of pressure-treated wood, are in position along the bank, each partnered with one of the metal supports sunk last week.

Support posts march along the bank on July 13.

Last week’s exciting installment on this saga is here; the next is here. My very first Alewife post, from July of 2010, is here, and you can read them all in order if you like. I only describe the work that has been ongoing right near my house, though.

Appearances to the contrary this blog is about Mass. Ave., not the Alewife. I just couldn’t help myself. If you’ve read this far, apparently neither can you.

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2 comments so far

  1. Bob Sprague on

    This project is close enough to Mass. Ave. to warrant inclusion. I read all the way to the end, and I thank you for this update about a little-reported improvement to Arlington.

    Bob Sprague

    • Adam Auster on

      You’re welcome, Bob, and thank you.

      The Alewife may be physically proximate to Mass. Ave., but the projects are institutionally very separate. Mass. Ave. is a highway project and the Greenway is a state park; they are being designed and built by different entities according to very different criteria.

      I also write about the two in different ways. I try to be comprehensive in my coverage of the Mass. Ave. Project and all its many controversies, but make no such effort in my Greenway posts. Those are just about what I see near my house.

      One reason for my little disclaimer at the end of each Alewife post is to remind readers of those differences in scope.


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