Night Shift : Gilmore Bridge Night Work Stretching Neighbors Thin

Living next to the Gilmore Bridge can mean a great view of traffic jams – and that’s no surprise – but to a lot of neighbors on the Charlestown/Cambridge line, they never expected to have to endure nightly jackhammering on Bridge three seasons annually year upon year.

Dan Spirer and his wife, Kathy, have lived in the Somerville/Charlestown/Cambridge triangle for more than 40 years, and moved into one of the buildings next to the Gilmore about 16 months ago. Obviously, they knew with Cambridge Crossing that it was an area in flux, but they never anticipated sleepless nights due to the Gilmore.

“Last fall, they started doing work on the Gilmore in the middle of the night – starting up at 8 p.m. and jackhammering constantly until 2 a.m. every night for three weeks. All they did was jackhammer. I can’t figure out what takes so much jackhammering, but that’s what they did. In the spring this year, they started up again, going four or five hours into the dead of night jackhammering. Then, with the construction at Cambridge Crossing, they start their work set-up at 6 a.m. It leaves a window of only about four hours of quiet to sleep.”

Spirer said the jackhammering continued for about seven weeks in the spring, then stopped. He said he believes it’s impacting thousands of people in the new and existing units along the Gilmore.

“I have lived in this general area about 45 years and I have never seen them do construction at night like this,” he said. “I remember they did night construction on the Mass Pike’s Commonwealth Avenue Bridge a few years ago, but that was a critical highway that needed to be done fast. The Gilmore Bridge is just not that big of a deal; it’s not a critical route.”

Late last week, MassDOT announced they would be coming back to do more work on the Gilmore – starting July 27 and going through the end of September. However, this time they will only be working on weekends, according to MassDOT.

Lane closures will be implemented each weekend from approximately 8 a.m., Saturday, through 5 a.m., Monday. During these weekends, one lane of travel will be open in each direction, which will enable crews to safely and effectively conduct bridge repair operations.

 “As always, work is being conducted in ways that minimize impacts on the traveling public and local community,” read the release. “For example, jackhammering will only be conducted during daytime hours.”

Spirer said that could be worse than working at night, and he wonders when it will be that residents will be prioritized ahead of drivers and commuters.

“This is all to accommodate traffic and drivers on the Bridge, whether at night or on the weekends,” he said. “They don’t want to inconvenience them. I think it’s the drivers who should be inconvenienced and not the residents. The residents living next to the Bridge should not have to be inconvenienced with this kind of noise to help drivers.”

The full scope of work on the Gilmore includes repairing the concrete deck, installing deck joints, milling, and paving.

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