Officials Wonder when Bridge Project is Going to Begin: Vitagliano: Demolition Will Commence Aug. 10

The Town Council and Town Manager James McKenna expressed concern about the delay in starting the Belle Isle Bridge replacement project during a discussion at Tuesday night’s Council meeting.

John Vitagliano, community liaison for the project, must have been listening because he had an emphatic response Wednesday morning in a telephone call to the Sun-Transcript office.

“I just attended a meeting and the first phase of demolition of the bridge is going to start Wednesday [Aug. 10],” said Vitagliano.

Vitagliano heard about the “delay of project” issues raised by the Council and the inference that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) hadn’t given its approval for the use of a 208-feet tall crane for the demolition phase of the project because of the bridge’s proximity to Logan International Airport.

“The original request by the contractor a few months ago was for a 208-feet tall crane,” said Vitagliano. “That request was rejected by the FAA as being much too high for that site. There have been negotiations since then and we have approved a new demolition plan that doesn’t involve a crane at all. An excavator [machine], which is like a big claw at the end of a big arm, will be used to take out chunks of the asphalt surface. There will also be equipment similar to the end of a saw that will be cutting in to the roadway surface.”

Vitagliano said motorists will be able to use both sides of the roadway during the demolition period.

“The same traffic plan will be in place through the demolition phase,” said Vitagliano. “There will be an occasional, temporary lane closure, maybe a half hour or so, but those will be done during off-peak hours and fully monitored by the police details.”

Town receives OK to award ferry contract

Town Manager James McKenna reported to the Town Council Tuesday night that the town had received final approval to award the contract for the construction of the ferry terminal building at the Town Landing.

“It only took us 24 months to get that approval, but nonetheless we have it,” said McKenna. “We’re having a pre-construction meeting in a week and we’ll begin that construction project in earnest in September. The goal is to see the main structure up before the winter comes.”

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“Originally I did,” responded McKenna. “But I do see the value of what both Councilor Maggio and Councilor Calla point out – that what’s important and become very evident to us is someone that has the ability to interface with the various [town] offices on a more frequent and active basis is very vital to that position and I see the value with having that.

The clerk to the Council position pays a stipend of $5,200.

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