DORCHESTER (CBS) — It’s likely the least visible role of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, but one of the most critical: divers who take on tough conditions to inspect bridges from under the water.
“It’s very crucial for the safety of the public,” Randi Bonica, an underwater operations engineer, said. “They don’t know what’s going on underneath the water, and the only way to determine if there’s … any issues is if we inspect it.”
On Friday, divers inspected the bridge over the Neponset River, one of the most traveled bridges in the Boston area. The MassDOT dive team is made up of five full time divers and 15 part time. In all, they inspect about 1,000 bridges across Massachusetts.
“We look for river beds to erode, the concrete deterioration, piles and pillars to see if they have damage,” diver Gordon Broz said.
These divers also make important repairs, all while struggling with strong currents, murky waters, cold weather and debris that can be dangerous.
“They’ve discovered cars, motorcycle frames, certainly trash,” Brian Clang, a state engineer, said.
“We find cars, we find guns, we find ammunition,” Broz said. “If people don’t want it found, they throw it off a bridge.”
It’s grueling work, but these guys love it.
“I’ve been a diver all my life, since 1977,” Broz said. “It’s great [that] I could combine what I love to do with the engineering side.”
The best part: knowing they’re helping to keep drivers in the Commonwealth safe.