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May 15, 2013

Bridge work continuing through fall

The final phase of work on the $26 million reconstruction and modernization of the A. Piatt Andrew Bridge — a project that began in 2008, was revived last week into a sixth year, and is now continuing — is projected to continue until completion in the fall.

A crane on the outbound side of the four-lane bridge for Route 128 over the Annisquam River has been in place for about a week, once again reducing the bridge to one-lane travel coming onto Cape Ann.

The bridge, the longest and highest span on Route 128’s 57-mile arc around Greater Boston, was completed at the middle of the 20th century and was ready for use two years ahead of Route 128, which reached it in 1952.

At the time, the four doors at the towers were decorated with art work that could be seen by pedestrians who were allowed across the span until the Interstate Highway System barred the dangerous action. Today, more than 40,000 vehicles a day in summer whiz past scenes of Gloucester and its fishing tradition.

Michael Verseckes, MassHighway spokesman, said Tuesday work will be discontinued and the lane restriction eliminated for the Memorial Day weekend, which falls May 25-27. Work will resume with the start of business on Tuesday, May 28, the day after the holiday, he said.

“What you’re seeing out there is the remobilization of the painting of the bridge,” Verseckes said. “There will be daily lane closures during off-peak hours for the setup of the containment areas. The painting is focusing on the upper deck of the main span of the bridge.

“We expect this to last through the summer and into the fall,” he said, adding that “this is the last area of the bridge that needs to be painted.”

“In addition to the painting, there are also some repairs to the surface of the sidewalks on the bridge, and to the bridge expansion joints, he said.

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