Finishing Touches

The full inscription at this trail head reads “Alewife Greenway Corridor” incised in noble Roman capitals.

Dan Driscoll, the planning director at the Department of Conservation and Recreation, told us last winter that he wanted to wrap up the Alewife Greenway by Labor Day.

In the close of August there was a flurry of activity aimed at meeting that goal.

Unfinished post August 20

August 21

This included detail work on the new boardwalk segment north of the Henderson Street Bridge.

Compare this fence post at end of day on Monday, August 20, versus Tuesday, August 22.

Views are ENE from the Henderson Street Bridge.

That’s not all. I noticed that the southern entrance to the Greenway, at the Minuteman Path, finally got its final layer of asphalt. Bye bye bump!

At the Broadway entrance to the northern segment of the path workers inscribed an entrance in lieu of the obelisks used elsewhere to mark trail heads. (Photo at the top of this story.)

Entry way to short cemetery path

I’m sure lots more was going on in other places, too.

Directly across Henderson St. from the trail head there is an informal, rag tag path that leads north to St. Paul’s Cemetery. Seems the cemetery planted bodies on state land on the Arlington side, and the DCR declined to evict them when it built the path.

That is why the Arlington path is interrupted at that point, and everyone has to zig east into Somerville.

Anyway, in late August the DCR put gravel down on the entrance to that little path.

Finally, on Friday before labor day, August 31, crews seemed to be everywhere on the path, laying down fresh stone dust, and then wetting and rolling it.

This last step, which was not followed when the path was first laid down here, activates binders in the stone dust and sets it hard, like concrete.

The work of the 31st repaired many gullies and ditches and other flaws, such as the gaps and bumps that had emerged at the granite curbs that anchor the many boardwalks.

The freshly rolled surface contrasts noticeably with the older loose sand and in some places is so thin that it clearly will not last. (Think eggshell over soft sand.)

Also, the binders wear off over time, at which point the erosion will reproduce the same flaws that this round repaired.

From the Broadway trail head facing north (and down).

So my gratitude at seeing these nice touches is tinged with apprehension. Will the DCR maintain this path? If not, some of these fixes are as thin and temporary as the friable layer of new rolled stone dust.

There’s one other piece to this work, but there is so much to show about it that I will save it for my next Alewife post.

It’s also possible to see the first or the previous report in this series, which has been fun to photograph and write.

However, this is at heart a blog about Mass. Ave., which someday (but when?) will provide some construction-work photos of its own.

Note: I got behind in posting my Alewife reports. Life happens, even to bloggers. To avoid confusion, I am back-dating this to early September, when I should have finished it.

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