The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project design/build contractor, White-Skanska-Consigli JV (WSC), announce that all vehicle, pedestrian, bicycle, and MBTA Red Line travel near the Charles Circle staging area of the Longfellow Bridge will be halted for a brief period of time. The temporary halt is necessary to complete replacement of the Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH’s) existing steam line with a new 18-inch line on Saturday, August 27, and Sunday, August 28. The line runs under the Longfellow Bridge and is being replaced as part of the bridge rehabilitation. The new line must be cleaned before it is put into service. The cleaning process (called a “steam blow”) uses pressurized steam to remove dirt and other debris from inside the new line.
The steam blow will begin at approximately 7:00 AM on Saturday, August 27, and will continue until all dirt and debris are removed from the pipe. The process will take one to two days. All vehicle, pedestrian, bicycle, and MBTA Red Line travel near the Charles Circle staging area will be halted for a short period of time at the beginning of the process, and police details will be present.
The process creates a cloud of ordinary steam and a low frequency rumbling sound. The steam will be supplied from Veolia’s Kendall Station generating plant on Land Boulevard in Cambridge. The primary location for the steam release is at the construction staging area in the parking lot across from and to the east of the Charles/MGH Red Line station. Smaller vents of steam will also be visible at several smaller locations along the Longfellow Bridge. Dirt and debris will be collected before the steam is released into the air.
Please see the Steam Blow Flyer to view a graphic that shows the distances from the staging area to the nearest abutters. Depending on weather conditions, the steam cloud could rise over 200 feet in the air and be visible for some distance. The low frequency rumbling sound that accompanies the steam blow is similar to noise made by passing Red Line trains and will be noticeable to people traveling near the staging area and to nearby abutters.
For questions or concerns about the steam blow, please call the project hotline at 617-519-9892, or email the project team at [email protected]. For more information about the project, visit the website at www.mass.gov/massdot/longfellowbridge.
MassDOT encourages travelers to avoid the area and seek alternate routes to minimize delays. Those traveling through the area should expect delays, reduce speed, and use caution. The schedule for this major infrastructure project is weather dependent and subject to change without notice.