Northeastern University civil and environmental engineering professor Ming Wang went with me to visually inspect the Charlestown Bridge, a rusty truss bridge that crosses the Charles River, connecting Charlestown to Boston’s North End. The bridge has six lanes, but two of them are blocked off and there’s a sign posted that reads “No Trucks”.
Wang found the Charlestown Bridge to be structurally deficient– marked by corroded beams that he said were beyond repair. It looked as if the bridge had been patched up in a piecemeal sort of way. Underneath the bridge are steel beams that are rotting away. Other, newer, redundant beams are carrying the weight.
“In this case because of redundancy it seems to be safe, but from what I see the corrosion is really ugly, and its time to repair by stripping the paint,” Wang said as he flaked off some of the rusty paint on the surface of the beams.
Stripping the paint from the Charlestown Bridge will not be easy, because it most likely contains lead, Wang said.