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.

Read the article at WGBH Boston Public Radio →