Connect with us

News

Boston to Take Down Historic Northern Avenue Bridge

Published

on

Boston to Take Down Historic Northern Avenue Bridge

The City of Boston is planning to take down the deteriorating Northern Avenue Bridge starting in March, officials said Thursday, a decision made more urgent after the Coast Guard warned it could collapse into Fort Point Channel.

The Coast Guard wrote to the city in October, requesting that it make immediate repairs or demolish portions of the century-old bridge because of safety concerns.

Since then, the Walsh administration has been working with the Army Corps of Engineers on options for the bridge, which is beloved by preservationists. The city, which would need a permit from the corps to remove or repair the structure, revealed this week that it plans to spend up to $100 million for a new span.

The city has not decided how it will rebuild the bridge, at a cost ranging from $30 million to more than $70 million.

Just taking down the entire bridge would cost an estimated $15 million.

“The process is being developed with an understanding of the historic nature of this bridge, so as to maximize future preservation options, while dealing with the current public safety challenge,” according to a statement from Bonnie McGilpin, a spokeswoman for Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

The steel swing bridge has been in disrepair for decades. The city closed it to vehicles in 1997, and to pedestrians in December 2014, when city engineers determined that the bridge could not support any weight.

Walsh has committed to replacing the bridge as part of the city and state’s agreement to persuade General Electric Co. to relocate its world headquarters to Boston. The industrial conglomerate wants to be in the Seaport District, and the city offered to rebuild the bridge, which connects the Seaport to the Financial District, as a benefit for the entire South Boston Waterfront.

Reopening the bridge could help ease traffic congestion in the booming neighborhood.

But given the Coast Guard’s warnings in its October letter, it appears the city had to take action soon, whether or not GE uprooted itself from Fairfield, Conn. City officials have said that they have been reviewing their options since closing the bridge over a year ago.

Taking down the structure would be the second prominent bridge removal by the Walsh administration. Last year, the city ordered the demolition of the Long Island Bridge in Boston Harbor for safety reasons. The cost was about $20 million.

This spring, the city plans to develop a public process to determine the future of the Northern Avenue Bridge. The fiercest debate is likely to center around whether to build a newly designed bridge or to build a rehabilitated version of the historic bridge. It’s widely considered that rehabilitating the bridge would cost more money.

The Walsh administration has been careful not to favor one position or the other, but the mayor has said that he wants to rebuild the bridge to support pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars.

“Over the past year, the mayor has listened to several stakeholders, preservation advocates, and public safety officials and all options are still on the table for rebuilding the bridge,” McGilpin said.

“We are currently determining the most cost-efficient option for the city that will best serve the residents and visitors of Boston.”

The bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but it is not designated as a Boston landmark, which would offer it more protections.

Greg Galer, executive director of the Boston Preservation Alliance, expressed concern that the city plans to take down the entire bridge, instead of just the parts that are most prone to falling into the water.

“It’s a big overreach,’’ Galer said.

The Coast Guard has written to the city at least four times since 1997 to request engineering reports or action to address the bridge’s structure. In its Oct. 26 letter, the federal agency called the bridge a“hazard to navigation” and requested that the city promptly remove a major portion of the bridge that’s known as the center swing span superstructure.

“Though the City has considered options to resolve the matter, they have not yet provided an acceptable plan of action,” the Coast Guard wrote.

In an interview Thursday, a Coast Guard official reiterated the agency’s concerns about the structural stability of the bridge.

Last winter, the city had to lock the bridge in the closed position to brace the swing deck under the weight of the historic snowfall. Based on those reports, the Coast Guard has wanted the city to take action as soon as possible.

“It would be best the structure be removed before the next major snowstorm,” said Chris Bisignano, the Coast Guard’s First District Bridge Program manager.

Bisignano said that if the bridge were to fall, it would pose hazards not only to boats but to pedestrians on land. The Moakley United States Courthouse sits in front of the bridge, as does the Barking Crab restaurant, the Envoy Hotel, and a section of the HarborWalk, a public walkway that rings the waterfront.

Bisignano said that kind of structure hitting the water could create a dangerous situation. He likened it to standing on the beach and being hit by a wave.

“It knocks you over,” he said.

Entrepreneur, contributor, writer, and editor of Sostre News. With a powerful new bi-lingual speaking generation by his side, Sostre News is becoming the preferred site for the latest in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Culture, Tech, Breaking and World News.

News

Three Disney World Employees Among 17 Arrested in Florida Child Sex Sting

Three Disney World employees were among the 17 people arrested in a child sex sting operation in Florida, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday.

Published

on

Three Disney World Employees Among 17 Arrested in Florida Child Sex Sting

Three Disney World employees were among the 17 people arrested in a child sex sting operation in Florida, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday.

In the operation, dubbed “Operation Child Protector,” undercover officers posed as 13- and 14-year-old children on social media and online dating apps between July 27 and Aug. 1.

The undercovers made contact with each of the suspects before proposing they meet at a location in Polk County, where they were busted.

In total, the arrests led to 49 felony and two misdemeanor charges. Those arrested were aged 26 to 47. All were from Central Florida except for one 33-year-old man from California.

“What you see on this board … are deviants. Incredible deviants,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference on Tuesday, motioning to photos of the alleged pervs. “They travel from as far away as Clewiston, Florida. One even came from Los Angeles.”

“Much to their chagrin, instead of meeting with young children, they were met by law enforcement officers who were online undercover posing as children.”

Kenneth Javier Aquino, 26, a lifeguard at Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney World, was arrested while still wearing his Disney polo shirt and swimsuit, according to the sheriff’s office.

Aquino engaged in an online conversation on social media with an officer, posing as a 13-year-old girl, authorities said. He then asked the “girl” to send photos, and sent her an explicit video of himself, police said.

Aquino told officers he is a Navy veteran and has a pregnant girlfriend.

Jonathan McGrew, a 34-year-old custodian at Disney World, was nabbed by an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.

disney-world

McGrew allegedly told the “girl” that he wanted her to come over and have sex with him and his girlfriend, 29-year-old Savannah Lawrence, who also works as a custodian at tourist mecca.

McGrew sent her explicit videos of him and Lawrence performing sexual acts on each other, authorities said.

A rep for Disney World didn’t immediately return a message.

Continue Reading

News

China Reports First Human Death from Monkey B Virus

China has reported the first human infection and death in the country caused by a rare infectious disease found in primates known as the Monkey B virus.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said a 53-year-old veterinary surgeon who worked in a research institute specializing in nonhuman primate breeding in Beijing dissected two monkeys in March and became ill about a month later.

Published

on

China Reports First Human Death from Monkey B Virus

China has reported the first human infection and death in the country caused by a rare infectious disease found in primates known as the Monkey B virus.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said a 53-year-old veterinary surgeon who worked in a research institute specializing in nonhuman primate breeding in Beijing dissected two monkeys in March and became ill about a month later.

He began experiencing nausea, vomiting, fever and neurological issues, and died in May.

Blood and saliva samples were tested and researchers in April found evidence of the Monkey B virus, also known as the herpes B virus.

Researchers said a male doctor and female nurse who were in close contact with the victim tested negative for the virus.

The Monkey B virus is prevalent among macaque monkeys but infection among humans is extremely rare. Since the virus was identified in 1932, just 50 cases have been reported, with the majority of those in North America. Untreated B virus infections in humans are serious, however, with a fatality rate of about 80 percent.

Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, and progress to more serious complications such as swelling of the brain and spinal cord.

Laboratory workers and veterinarians in close contact with the animals are most at risk as people typically get infected with the virus if they are bitten or scratched by an infected macaque, or have contact with the monkey’s eyes, nose or mouth.

But the virus is unlikely to mutate in a way that poses a problem to the general population. Just one case of human-to-human transmission of the virus has ever been documented.

Continue Reading

News

U.S. Remembers 9/11 Terrorist Attacks as The Pandemic Changes Tribute Traditions

Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions and woven into the presidential campaign, drawing both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden to pay respects at the same memorial without crossing paths.

Published

on

U.S. Remembers 9/11 Terrorist Attacks as The Pandemic Changes Tribute Traditions

Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions and woven into the presidential campaign, drawing both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden to pay respects at the same memorial without crossing paths.

In New York, a dispute over coronavirus-safety precautions is leading to split-screen remembrances Friday, one at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza at the World Trade Center and another on a nearby corner. The Pentagon’s observance will be so restricted that not even victims’ families can attend, though small groups can visit the memorial there later in the day.

Trump and Biden are both headed — at different times — to the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Trump is speaking at the morning ceremony, the White House said. Biden plans to pay respects there in the afternoon after attending the observance at the 9/11 memorial in New York.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence is also due at ground zero — and then at the alternate ceremony a few blocks away.

In short, the anniversary of 9/11 is a complicated occasion in a maelstrom of a year, as the U.S. grapples with a health crisis, searches its soul over racial injustice and prepares to choose a leader to chart a path forward.

Still, 9/11 families say it’s important for the nation to pause and remember the hijacked-plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the trade center, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001, shaping American policy, perceptions of safety and daily life in places from airports to office buildings.

“I know that the heart of America beats on 9/11 and, of course, thinks about that tragic day. I don’t think that people forget,” says Anthoula Katsimatides, who lost her brother John and is now on the board of the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum.

Friday will mark Trump’s second time observing the 9/11 anniversary at the Flight 93 memorial, where he made remarks in 2018. Biden spoke at the memorial’s dedication in 2011, when he was vice president.

The ground zero ceremony in New York has a longstanding custom of not allowing politicians to speak, though they can attend. Biden did so as vice president in 2010, and Trump as a candidate in 2016.

Though the candidates will be focused on the commemorations, the political significance of their focus on Shanksville is hard to ignore: Pennsylvania is a must-win state for both. Trump won it by less than a percentage point in 2016.

Around the country, some communities have canceled 9/11 commemorations because of the pandemic, while others are going ahead, sometimes with modifications.

The New York memorial is changing one of its ceremony’s central traditions: having relatives read the names of the dead, often adding poignant tributes.

Thousands of family members are still invited. But they’ll hear a recording of the names from speakers spread around the vast plaza, a plan that memorial leaders felt would avoid close contact at a stage but still allow families to remember their loved ones at the place where they died.

But some victims’ relatives felt the change robbed the observance of its emotional impact. A different 9/11-related group, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, set up its own, simultaneous ceremony a few blocks away, saying there’s no reason that people can’t recite names while keeping a safe distance.

The two organizations also tussled over the Tribute in Light, a pair of powerful beams that shine into the night sky near the trade center and evoke its fallen twin towers. The 9/11 memorial initially canceled the display, citing virus-safety concerns for the installation crew. After the Tunnel to Towers Foundation vowed to put up the lights instead, the memorial changed course with help from its chairman, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Tunnel to Towers, meanwhile, arranged to display single beams for the first time at the Shanksville memorial and the Pentagon.

Over the years, the anniversary also has become a day for volunteering. Because of the pandemic, the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance organization is encouraging people this year to make donations or take other actions that can be accomplished at home.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending