The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) Tobin Bridge Painting Project is scheduled to begin in Charlestown on April 7th, 2003 as part of the ongoing process to safely maintain the 2.25-mile bridge. The contractor, Atlas Painting and Sheeting Corporation successfully completed the last two phases of the painting project in Chelsea and has begun setting up and testing monitoring equipment and positioning containment enclosures in the Charlestown work area.
The new coat of paint will help protect the bridge from ultraviolet rays and saltwater, shielding the structure from the natural elements that can cause corrosion. In total, approximately 24,000 gallons are needed to paint the entire Tobin Bridge from end to end.
Massport requires its contractors to use high quality, environmentally-sound equipment, certified personnel and specific paint removal procedures. Massport's stringent public safety and environmental requirements continue to figure prominently throughout plans for the entire paint project. Old paint is completely removed from the bridge utilizing an abrasive cleaning technique that uses recyclable steel shot to clean the steel surface. All paint removal will be conducted within a negative pressure containment system that keeps dust and paint debris from escaping into the air. A vacuum hose connects the containment system to a filtering system where the steel shot is separated from the old lead paint. This is then stored for removal to a hazardous waste site.
Air quality testing, both general and on-site, will be performed prior to construction and during the paint removal work.
Community representatives, engineers, and environmental planners from Massport met with city and state officials, Charlestown Neighborhood Council members and residents to address any potential concerns prior to the start of work.
"With four years of success in Chelsea, we are confident that this phase of the paint project can be completed smoothly and efficiently and with minimal community impacts," said Massport's Director of the Tobin Memorial Bridge Mary Jane O'Meara. "Painting the bridge is essential to maintaining its structural integrity and protecting against rust."
Repainting the structural steel elements of the lower level of the Tobin Bridge from the CANA portal heading north to the Little Mystic truss is expected to take approximately 18 months to complete. Work will take place Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm.
The Tobin Bridge's lower level roadway will be reduced to two permanent center lanes up to the Little Mystic truss (location of the old toll booths) for the length of the project. The roadway will widen to three lanes past the truss. Prior to actual painting, construction crews will install jersey barriers along the lower level's east and west sides to delineate the work area from the two travel lanes. Work will commence near the CANA portal on both the east and west sides simultaneously.
Massport will continue to provide communities with information, traffic advisories and briefings on the project and welcomes residents to contact Massport community representative, Dorothy Connolly Steele, at (617) 568-3705 for further information.
Massport is coordinating with the Massachusetts Highway Department to place message board signs in the CANA tunnel. State Police officers will be posted at critical bridge access points along the work site as needed. Although no local street closures are foreseen, Massport will work with the City of Boston if police details are deemed necessary.