Canton Junction Footbridge Rebuild

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Canton Junction Footbridge Rebuild

Postby ohalloranchris » Mon Aug 08, 2016 2:15 pm

The large footbridge at Canton Junction is undergoing a much needed overhaul. The steel supporting the concrete ramps and stairs is badly corroded, and falling in some spots. The bridge was built when the catenary went up (late 90's I believe?), and is awfully young for such failure. I have no idea if this is true, but a friend speculated that the wrong type of de-icer had been used, which created the deterioration.

It's a painstaking process: the old concrete is jackhammered, loaded by hand into wheelbarrows, and wheeled down to a Bobcat bucket, then placed in a dumpster. They are repairing one ramp at a time, starting with the ramp closest to the station building (platform D, Track 4 aka inbound from Stoughton). The stairs are still open, but anyone in a wheelchair would need to utilize the street bridge at the other (east) end of the platform.

I have some pictures of the construction, but a firewall prevents me from uploading them at work. I can upload another time if anyone is interested.
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Re: Canton Junction Footbridge Rebuild

Postby BigUglyCat » Mon Aug 08, 2016 2:23 pm

We're always interested in site and equipment pictures. Please, give us a look when you can.
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Re: Canton Junction Footbridge Rebuild

Postby ohalloranchris » Mon Aug 08, 2016 8:56 pm

Sorry, strike two: I tried to upload the pictures from my I Pad, but received the following error message:

<<The image file you tried to attach is invalid>>

If anyone has any tips, I'd be happy to give it another try.
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Re: Canton Junction Footbridge Rebuild

Postby highgreen215 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 1:11 am

I wish they would tear the whole ugly mess down and start over with a fresh, creative design. Canton Junction was once an interesting, attractive railroad location until Amtrak or the MBTA ruined it. Today it is the definition of the word "eye sore".
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Re: Canton Junction Footbridge Rebuild

Postby MBTA3247 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 7:40 am

ohalloranchris wrote:The large footbridge at Canton Junction is undergoing a much needed overhaul. The steel supporting the concrete ramps and stairs is badly corroded, and falling in some spots. The bridge was built when the catenary went up (late 90's I believe?), and is awfully young for such failure. I have no idea if this is true, but a friend speculated that the wrong type of de-icer had been used, which created the deterioration.

From what I've seen, none of the footbridges from that period are in good shape. They were all made from what looks like ordinary galvanized steel, which has just been destroyed by whatever salt they use in the winter. Maybe they'll be smart and use some paint this time to protect the steel.
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Re: Canton Junction Footbridge Rebuild

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:48 am

Aren't those footbridges no more than 20 years old? I looked at Historic Aerials and they appeared between the '95 and '01 imagery, so I assume that was an Amtrak-mandate track crossing elimination in prep for Acela and electrification. How could they be in such abysmal condition so soon?
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Re: Canton Junction Footbridge Rebuild

Postby The EGE » Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:26 am

Most of the T's early attempts at commuter rail pedestrian bridges were pretty poorly designed. Canton Junction, South Attleboro, Hyde Park, Readville, the outer Worcester Line - they're all in pretty poor shape after 15 to 25 years. The mid-80s mini-highs and canopies on the Needham, Newburyport/Rockport, and Franklin lines aren't doing so great either, nor are the Ruggles and Forest Hills platforms. The concrete has suffered water incursion and frost heaves, and the galvanized steel bridges are corroded by de-icer, diesel exhaust, and the other nasties found around railroads. Not to mention that the giant ramps are, as mentioned up thread, both ugly and difficult to use for handicapped people.

It wasn't until the last few years that they've started to build pedestrian overpasses with a real chance of being in decent condition in a few decades. Littleton and South Acton both have higher-quality roofs, and components that are painted. Yawkey is mostly bare galvanized steel, but it was built under plans to be covered with a building.
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Re: Canton Junction Footbridge Rebuild

Postby Diverging Route » Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:38 am

Anderson/Woburn's stairs on the north end are a continuing problem -- and it's from the early 00s.
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Re: Canton Junction Footbridge Rebuild

Postby eubnesby » Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:28 am

Too bad the MBTA can't follow the Shore Line East design, which is quite nice, and is now being used in Kingston and on the Hartford line.
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Re: Canton Junction Footbridge Rebuild

Postby boulderdashcci » Wed Aug 17, 2016 11:50 am

South Attleboro has had its stairs closed for years. I think they were originalally supposed to be rebuilt or possibly reprofiled when they rebuilt the Newport Ave bridge, but they've been blocked off since at least 2012. I'm curious when they'll just close that station altogether. The parts that are still open aren't too far behind condition wise.
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Re: Canton Junction Footbridge Rebuild

Postby millerm277 » Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:37 pm

Considering South Attleboro does 1462 boardings a day, making it the 9th highest ridership station for inbound boardings in the entire CR system, I would go with "never" (Especially since it also has 568 parking spaces). Numbers from 2014 MBTA Bluebook.
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Re: Canton Junction Footbridge Rebuild

Postby boulderdashcci » Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:51 pm

I think there were plans in the past - possibly when the Amtrak 4 track mandate goes in place - to reopen a station in Pawtucket. I haven't followed it in a long time, but I believe the vast majority of South Attleboro riders commute to the station rather than being immediately local, so there is nothing keeping the station tied to that spot besides maybe the parking and 95 access. If I remember correctly, Pawtucket/CF was closed at the inception of the MBTA due to a clause about not serving other states, which is the reason South Attleboro was eventually built. Now that service has expanded back into RI the purpose of that station would be obsolete if Pawtucket were to get another station.

I admittedly haven't read up on this in a while and I'm going based on memory, but I do believe when the 4 track thing happens South Attleboro is supposed to be closed or relocated which could explain the lack of maintenance.
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Re: Canton Junction Footbridge Rebuild

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Aug 18, 2016 7:29 am

Pawtucket's funded! :-D

They just got their big grant award a couple weeks ago. It's still going to take quite a few years to build it, but that's finally happening and should be an enormous relief for the S. Attleboro overcrowding.


The Amtrak dependencies on a S. Attleboro renovation are sticky. Like the stops in RI it's supposed to be rebuilt as quad-track with outer track local platforms, but because Amtrak is responsible for the track work and the T is responsible for the station the funding cycles have to be in sync to initiate anything. And Amtrak's not ready for the track work with so many higher priorities to kickstart down south between now and FY2020. Same reason there's no point to doing full-highs anywhere else until Amtrak's ready. Mansfield, Sharon, Hyde Park, and Canton (track junction + platform alignment, not footbridge) all require both parties. Even Attleboro, which needs no station reconfiguration, can't have full-highs installed until Amtrak comes in and installs one single crossover so the wide-clearance CSX freights can reverse on/off the Middleboro Secondary onto one of the express tracks away from the inbound platform.

At some point the deterioration is going to get bad enough that S. Attleboro loses all compliance with ADA, and basic repairs become extensive enough that it triggers the same Mass. Architectural Board regulations requiring a full-scale rebuild to the highest level of accessibility that they're staring down on a few other stops: full-highs, improved ramps, improved curbside access, etc. And then what do they do? All of the structures they'd be under-the-gun to repair are the structures that would get blown up and totally re-done when Amtrak adds the extra track capacity. Could devolve into a bureaucratic nightmare, as Amtrak was hoping that would be one of the last commuter rail stations it would have to fund for quad-tracking. Right now they're focused on doing similar quad-track/add-a-track rebuild jobs in Maryland and Delaware for MARC and SEPTA/DelDOT. That deck could need haphazard reshuffling if S. Attleboro is at imminent risk of collapsing into dust and rust.
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Re: Canton Junction Footbridge Rebuild

Postby deathtopumpkins » Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:23 am

I don't think it'd necessarily be the end of the world if the MBTA had to rebuild South Attleboro before Amtrak was ready to quad-track it. Just build the platforms, overhead structures, etc. to fit the quad tracking, and fill in the space where the outer tracks will go with temporary wooden platform extensions. Voila, the station is rebuilt to be ADA/AAB-compliant without having to be torn out for eventual quad-tracking!
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Re: Canton Junction Footbridge Rebuild

Postby boulderdashcci » Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:10 pm

I don't believe there is room for quad tracking unless the station is moved out from under the bridge. That bridge was just rebuilt 5 years ago so I don't think they will be changing it to accommodate new tracks and platforms.

I believe Canton was exempted from the 4 track mandate due to the viaduct. There was no viable way to add the two tracks without another bridge span if I remember the report correctly. South Attleboro was not however, which I believe supported the speculation that the station would be closed in favor of moving back into Pawtucket. I don't believe the station was ever intended to be permanent, it was just built so that the area could continue to be served without actually crossing the state line. I believe the location was chosen due to all the existing parking from the mall being constructed at the same time, as well as 95 access (though anywhere along the corridor down there should have sufficient 95 access).

Sorry to keep going further off topic from Canton, but another question. I remember there were two proposals for the Pawtucket station, one to renovate and reuse the existing Pawtucket/CF station, and one to build a new one at a different location. I believe the main concerns with the existing one was lack of parking as well as the usual abatement/environmental issues. Which did the end up going with?
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