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Commuter Concerns Over Allston-To-Cambridge Bridge Rehab Project

By Beth Germano, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – A stripped down version of a well-traveled bridge is raising some commuters’ concerns, despite assurances from highway officials.

“I think the condition is somewhat scary, but at some point they have to fix it and make it right,” said one motorist crossing the Anderson Memorial Bridge that connects Allston and Cambridge.

Engineers are trying to fix the nearly 100-year-old bridge that was showing its age from crumbling brick and is now an even bigger mess.

“I hope I make it over the other side alright,” said driver Brian McCarthy.

State transportation officials call this a “just in time” project, but insist they are certain of its safety during reconstruction, even if the look of the exposed soil beneath is less than encouraging for motorists.

“We’re very confident through regular inspections that the structure is safe enough to handle the load that’s currently on it,” said Frank DePaola, MassDot highway administrator.

The bridge has been cut in half, reducing four lanes to two and lightening the weight of traffic. But even pedestrians are raising safety concerns. Wyatt Smith admits he doesn’t take his time on this bridge.

“I try to move as fast as I can, as much as I can,” he said.

DePaola says it’s similar to renovating an old house.

“Once we pulled away the facing we found things we didn’t expect, but have a handle on that now,” he said.

Keeping the bridge historically accurate is also taking more time, now extending the $20 million project into next year. Engineers insist the work will be enough for the bridge to last another 100 years.

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