August 3rd, 2007


Canoeing under the A. Piatt Andrew bridge in Gloucester

On Wednesday afternoon, not too long before the Minneapolis bridge disaster we went canoeing on the Annisquam River. As we passed under the A. Piatt Andrew bridge which takes Route 128 into the main section of Gloucester I looked up and noticed what bad shape it is in. There is lots of rust on the steel structure.

In this morning's Boston Globe there was a list and map of structurally deficient bridges of which there are apparently 500-600 of them (the article had several different numbers). There was also a map, although no list, and this bridge was one of them. I did a quick check and I see there is a construction project that has cosmetic and some structural repair as well. One of the things they are doing is replacing the ugly chain-link suicide prevention fence with an architecturally nicer one.

The bridge was built almost 60 years ago - before that there was a ferry (there is still a street called Ferry Street) and there is the draw bridge near the harbor that is opened frequently to let boats pass through. The bridge is named after A. Piatt Andrew, a Gloucester resident who among other things started an ambulance service in England and France during WW I.