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River project will entail loud booms

Officials don’t want to incite fear

Loud, gunshot-like bangs will sound in parts of Brookline and Boston through next week, as the US Army Corps of Engineers runs tests on support structures for the Muddy River Restoration Project.

In light of the recent bombings at the Boston Marathon, the project’s managers, local officials, and State Police have launched a campaign to notify area residents not to be alarmed by
the sounds, said Mike Keegan, project manager with the Army Corps.

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The tests, which will be conducted on a stretch of the river near the Landmark Center, will begin Tuesday morning and continue periodically until May 10, Keegan said.

“The tests will sound like gunshots,” he said. “They last for less than a second.”

The restoration project, scheduled for completion in 2016, will restore parts of the river that now run through underground pipes, a process known as “daylighting.” Additionally, engineers are installing a new drainage system to prevent flood damage to nearby properties and subway tunnels, Keegan said.

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, engineers will conduct strength tests on concrete shafts that are part of the drainage system, using a device that exerts pressure on the concrete and, in the process, produces a loud noise, Keegan said.

So far, eight tests have been scheduled: four from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday and another four ­between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, State Police said.

Police will stop traffic along parts of Park Drive and the ­Riverway during the tests, said Keegan.

“We don’t want somebody driving and distracted by a loud noise,” he said. “The tests are short, and traffic will only be stopped for a short time, so we aren’t anticipating any traffic delays.”

Keegan said the tests could not be postponed because the necessary equipment is already on its way from Florida to ­Boston and must be taken to a different project as soon as ­engineers finish the Muddy River tests.

“It has to go to another job right after,” he said, “so if we delay it at all, it’s going to have serious ­delays on the whole project.”

Todd Feathers can be reached
at todd.feathers@globe.com. ­Follow him on Twitter at @ToddFeathers.
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