By George P. Hassett

A $50 million project to repair a Boston bridge took Somerville officials by surprise this week.

Acting Somerville Police Chief Mike Cabral told aldermen Thursday night that Somerville was given late notice of the construction and its likely traffic effects around Route 93. “We were never thought about,” Cabral told aldermen Thursday. “They never considered what’s going to happen to Somerville. This is going to cause major, major problems.”

The project repairs the Craigie Bridge near Leverett Circle.

Ward Two Alderman Maryann Heuston said the project will slow traffic in Union Square and around Webster, prospect and Hampshire streets. She called the move “a poster-child for Boston and Cambridge projects that have severe impacts in Somerville because we handle traffic from Route 93.”

Cabral predicted gridlock traffic conditions in six to eight locations in the city once construction starts Nov. 6. Construction is expected to be finished by April. “We are going to need officers in six to eight locations to deal with the gridlock, road rage, the drivers who try to find other paths around traffic and drive through our neighborhoods in the morning,” he said.

It is unclear if the state will pay for Somerville police details. Cabral said the state is paying for details associated with the project in Boston and Cambridge.

Ward 1 Alderman Bill Roche said the city’s representatives in the State House should have raised Somerville concerns. “This is unacceptable,” he said. “The state delegation should have been speaking on our behalf. If Alderman Heuston had not discovered this, in a few weeks we’d be saying, ‘where did all this traffic come from?’”

 

9 Responses to “Boston, Cambridge bridge project upsets Somerville aldermen, police chief”

  1. Tricky says:

    Is Roche just up to his usual grandstanding here by attempting to issue another blanket statement against Jehlen, Provost and Sciortino, or is he really throwing Tim Toomey under the bus here?

    Talk about “Cambridge officials” who have known about the project for years, what the hell Tim?

  2. Ron Newman says:

    Can either of you explain exactly what this project is and what detours it will create? I thought the Longfellow project was not supposed to start until the Cragie Bridge (Charles River Dam drawbridge) project was finished next year.

  3. Ron Newman says:

    Well look now, the article has been changed to say Craigie where it used to say Longfellow.

  4. joe says:

    Once again, we have no state legislators from Somerville who have any clout at the state house, even if they had thought to discuss this issue. And if our city administration had any respect in the state they wouldn’t have ever thought of moving this project forward without including Somerville. We’re being dragged down by incompetence.

  5. Harry says:

    Jehlen, Provost and Sciortino – great work in watching out for our interests. Thanks for nothing. Vote out all incumbents. Especially these 3.

  6. Tricky says:

    Classic, Harry. I’m sure you’re fine with the state rep and state senator whose districts will be most directly affected by this: Toomey and DiDomenico.

    Although everyone should have know about it, you’d think the guys closest to the action would take a little more interest. You’d think you’d have something to say about a double-dipping Cambridge city councillor who probably had some idea this was in the pipeline, instead, haven’t heard a peep out of the guy, nor any of the Good Ol Boys calling him out, it’s just grab the torches and pitchforks.

    Get a new songbook, chief.

  7. Judas says:

    Is it a matter that is still open to discussion or debatable? A agreement is unlikely to be reached. According to Heuston, we are going to face a major traffic problem.

    Knowing this, is it safe to say that the City Of Somerville is going to provide police officers to assure doesn’t have a major impact on traffic. I would assume so. Its a moot point who is going to provide/pay for police details. Now that we expect a problem, it would be negligent not to make sure that we have a police presance. If the state does not provide the funds to cover this cost, I’m sure that the city would cover the expense and go after the funds at a later date.

    We should all thank Ms. Heuston for her discovery. I am confident that she would not allow the city to end up in a grid lock situation after forseeing this issue.

    Thanks for all that you do, and thank you for raising this issue. I am sure that you will provide enough officers to make sure we are safe.

  8. Frankie says:

    I wanted to thank Mr. and Mrs Heuston for all thier hard work in the city. I appreciate his and her efforts in assuring us that their will not be a traffic issue for all those that live in her district. Thank you for supporting the cops.

  9. Ron Newman says:

    I went to part of the MassDOT meeting about this project last night. The inbound Craigie Drawbridge (Route 28 between the Museum of Science and Leverett Circle) will close for about a month starting Saturday, November 6. It will reopen about a month later, but then close again from early February to mid-April.

    The purpose of the project is to entirely replace both decks of the drawbridge. More info here: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/charlesriverbridges/CraigieDamDrawBridge.html

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