Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

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Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby sery2831 » Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:35 pm

The bridge has got it's funding finally to begin it's repair.

From MBTA.com:
The MBTA Board of Directors has approved a $3 million contract as part of a project to repair and rehabilitate the Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill. Commuter Rail trains on the MBTA’s Haverhill Line travel over the bridge seven days a week.

The Merrimack River Bridge is the only bridge in the MBTA system with a similar design as the bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis last summer. The proposal includes design and construction, and the entire project would be expected to last approximately four years.

“I am pleased to hear that the MBTA is moving forward with plans to insure the continued safety of commuters who use the Merrimack River Bridge every day,” said Senator Steven A. Baddour, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “We must continue to be vigilant in maintenance and repair of our bridges and roadways to avoid senseless tragedies similar to the one the occurred in Minnesota. I look forward to working with the MBTA throughout the course of this project, and thank General Manager Grabauskas for his continued help and support.”

“As the only bridge in the MBTA system with a similar deck truss design as the bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis, it is a top priority of the T’s Bridge Management Program,” said MBTA General Manager Daniel A. Grabauskas. “This project is required to ensure the continued safe operation of Commuter Rail service, and to extend the structure’s useful life, reduce future maintenance costs, eliminate speed restrictions, and enhance the structural integrity of the bridge.”

“This funding will help maintain the safety of the commuters who rely on it everyday and provide continued rail service to the city of Haverhill,” said Representative Brian Dempsey of Haverhill. “I am pleased that the MBTA has recognized this project as a priority.”

Start Date: 04/04/2008 End Date: Email: jpesaturo@mbta.com
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Postby AEM7AC920 » Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:59 pm

Thanks for the news Sery I am sick of going over that thing at 5 mph!
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Postby sery2831 » Fri Apr 04, 2008 1:06 pm

Well it looks like at least 4 more years of a speed restriction. So it's not going away anytime soon. You will be at 100% by the time it's done AEM7AC...
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Postby GP40MC 1116 » Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:12 pm

Well nothing but good news for Haverhill Passengers and crew.I can imagine it is one pain in the ass to go over the bridge at 5 miles an hour and especially the crews.. even more annoying if it is you're last trip on the day :wink:
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Postby Gerry6309 » Fri Apr 04, 2008 6:55 pm

With stations close to each end what would the maximum allowed speed be?
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Postby NV290 » Fri Apr 04, 2008 7:34 pm

Here is the more important question...

When will the work begin? Having funds approved is one thing, actually starting work is another.

And 3 million is NOT going to be enough for that project. Ill bet it will be double that figure or more.
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Postby jbvb » Mon Apr 28, 2008 9:53 am

1960s B&M ETTs allowed 35MPH through the Bradford curve and across the bridge.

Their invocation of the Minneapolis bridge is pure red herring; Typical deck and through trusses both lack structural redundancy (e.g. there are members that have to remain intact or they'll collapse). MBTA commuter rail regularly uses at least 3 through trusses dating from the same era and maintained to the same standard (they don't span water, though). The issues here are 1) the masonry bridge piers need re-pointing, at least, 2) they put off replacing the deck timbers, and 3) it hasn't been painted in probably 50 years. IMO $3M should suffice for everything except maybe new paint.
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Postby NV290 » Fri May 02, 2008 2:57 pm

jbvb wrote:The issues here are 1) the masonry bridge piers need re-pointing, at least, 2) they put off replacing the deck timbers, and 3) it hasn't been painted in probably 50 years. IMO $3M should suffice for everything except maybe new paint.


I heard it needed everything you mentioned a well as some issues with the foundations underwater. I heard there was some trouble with washing out under them. Apparently that was why the restriction is now one train at a time and 5mph. Don't know much more then that.
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby jbvb » Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:28 am

Monday I saw a pile of freshly-adzed bridge ties between Bradford and the bridge; Today I saw a Pettibone with a boom in Haverhill, so I guess the replacement program has resumed.
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby NV290 » Wed Jul 16, 2008 1:14 pm

jbvb wrote:Monday I saw a pile of freshly-adzed bridge ties between Bradford and the bridge; Today I saw a Pettibone with a boom in Haverhill, so I guess the replacement program has resumed.


The work is due to start any day now. Supposedly will take at least 2 years. Whole new deck and alot of rivet replacement. Paint, and other TLC long overdue.
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:07 pm

when was this bridge built?
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby jbvb » Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:20 pm

The builder's plate on the through truss span says 1919. The piers look like they were raised when the Haverhill station grade separation was done, but I've never seen serious research of its history.
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby Veristek » Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:31 pm

NV290 wrote:
jbvb wrote:Monday I saw a pile of freshly-adzed bridge ties between Bradford and the bridge; Today I saw a Pettibone with a boom in Haverhill, so I guess the replacement program has resumed.


The work is due to start any day now. Supposedly will take at least 2 years. Whole new deck and alot of rivet replacement. Paint, and other TLC long overdue.


How will they run trains for the next 2 years when the deck is being replaced? I can't imagine removing the whole bridge then rebuilding it from the ground up on a somewhat busy train route over 2 years. Why so long to do it compared to the Amtrak bridge replacement in Conn.?
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby jbvb » Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:46 pm

The bridge timber replacement has been done a few at a time since they started last summer; they get a batch of ties ready (adzed to fit over specific support girders, I think) by the junction of the former Georgetown Branch in Bradford, and between the rush hours lug them out onto the bridge with the Pettibone, jack up the rail and fit them in. Apparently they can't get ties the same size as the originals, as the new ones are both shorter and smaller in cross section. So everywhere they've fixed, the running rails are shimmed up about an inch and the outer guard timber is replaced with steel strapping. In some places the inner guard rail is missing, too.

I was told that the long pause from last Fall to now was because they had used up the available creosoted timbers and had to wait 6-9 months for more. They might very well have good reasons and a coherent plan for the end result, but the present state certainly looks half-assed to the uninformed observer...
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby jbvb » Wed Jul 30, 2008 11:33 am

Either something else distracted them, or they ran out of bridge ties again; No noticeable work since early last week.
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