Here’s what it takes to build a bridge

pedestrian crossing
Late Friday night, after the final orange line train has passed by the Ruggles Station, Amtrack and the MBTA will turn off power to the tracks. This will signal the awaiting construction crew to begin a major step in the assembly of the new pedestrian bridge at Northeastern University: installing the spans crossing the train tracks.
Images provided by SKANSKA

The Northeastern University Pedestrian Crossing will stretch across five MBTA and Amtrack rail lines to connect the main campus to the expanding Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex south of the tracks. When it’s complete, the bridge will be a link for university students and community members of the Roxbury and Fenway neighborhoods.

Planning for this critical moment began weeks ago.

Lifting the bridge spans into place will require a Manitowoc MLC-650, one of the largest cranes on the East Coast. The main boom of the crane is 220 feet long and will stretch 189 feet high.
Graphic by Hannah Moore
The smaller of the two spans will be installed early Saturday morning. It is 65 feet long and weighs 94,000 pounds. The larger span, which is 132 feet long and weights 242,000 pounds, will be installed the following night.
Graphic by Hannah Moore
The crane was shipped from Maine, and then put together on site.
It required 33 trailers to move all the pieces.
The bridge was built by a fabricator in Houston, Texas.
It was driven to Boston on 22 trailers. The longest piece shipped whole was one of the girders. It stretched 132 feet long, weighed 32,000 pounds, and required a specialized trailer and full-time escort vehicles.
Construction crews have been assembling the bridge spans as they arrived. They have welded together the girders and attached metal parapets of varying heights on either side of each span. Crews used a smaller crane on site to assemble pieces of the larger Manitowoc crane.
Between 1:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, the smaller section of the bridge will be moved 190 feet and set into place on the Fenway side of the MBTA tracks.
Between 1:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, the larger section of the bridge will be placed spanning the MBTA and Amtrak lines.
Images provided by SKANSKA