Workers Injured at Longfellow Bridge Construction Site

They were hoisted from a 35-foot-deep shaft and sent to the hospital.
Image via Boston Fire Department

Image via Boston Fire Department

First responders made a “successful rescue” after two workers restoring the Longfellow Bridge as part of a years-long rehabilitation project were injured while passing concrete down into a shaft more than 35 feet deep on Monday.

The workers were sent to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries after reports came in that the chutes that were carrying the concrete to the crew at the bottom of the shaft gave way, according to Boston Fire Department officials. A technical rescue team was dispatched to the scene of the bridge, which carries cars and the MBTA’s Red Line trains from Cambridge to Boston.

Once emergency officials arrived on scene, they used “stokes baskets” to pull up the workers from the bottom of the shaft back up to the surface, one at a time. Officials said the workers were roughly 35 feet below the surface of the bridge, inside of the empty shaft where the “salt and pepper” towers that adorn the structure are usually placed.

After securing the workers inside of the basket they were raised to the opening of the shaft, where they were greeted by medical staff, treated for their injuries, and then escorted to area hospitals by Boston EMS officials for additional observation. Responders reportedly used an on-site crane to lift the basket from the hole, according to Steve MacDonald, a spokesman from the Boston Fire Department. “Great teamwork on site between construction crews and first responders at this incident made for a successful rescue,” he said, once the crew members were back on the ground and out of harm’s way.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is rehabilitating the historic Longfellow Bridge as part of a $255 million project funded through Governor Deval Patrick’s Accelerated Bridge Program. According to MassDOT’s website, the three-and-a-half year rehabilitation project will address the bridge’s current structural deficiencies, upgrade its structural capacity, and bring it up to modern code. Once finished, there will be improved lanes of travel for both pedestrians and cyclists. As part of the restoration, the bridge’s “distinctive architectural features” will be preserved and restored, while the deteriorated parts of the bridge will be replaced.


Steve Annear Steve Annear, Digital Writer at Boston Magazine sannear@bostonmagazine.com


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