Final cost of Longfellow Bridge project a tad overbudget
The price tag is finally in for the long rebuild of the Longfellow Bridge: $305.5 million, putting it a couple million over budget.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation on Monday set that number in stone, finalizing a settlement with the contractor to end any disputes over additional costs of the project, which ended up taking two years longer than originally planned.
When the project was first awarded to the construction companies JF White, Skanska, and Consigli, it was supposed to take three years. The state budgeted for it to cost no more than $303.7 million — a figure that included the possibility of cost overruns as well as police details.
Five years later, the final cost is a touch above that. Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said that though cost overruns are “frustrating,” keeping the amount to less than $2 million was an acceptable outcome, considering the completion was delayed by two years. The bridge work took much longer because contractors struggled to re-create construction methods from more than 100 years ago, a requirement of the bridge reconstruction to help the historic link between Boston and Cambridge maintain its character.
The bridge over the Charles River finally reopened to full traffic in May — though some finishing work is still happening this fall. The project also includes a new pedestrian bridge adjacent to the Longfellow on the Boston side that crosses Storrow Drive and opened this summer.
Another century-old bridge, the North Washington Street Bridge between Charlestown and downtown Boston, will be replaced starting next year. That project is scheduled to take five years, though Pollack on Monday said officials are looking at ways to possibly tighten the timeline.