Massachusetts bridge inspector warned Boston months before street lights went down

The City of Boston received an alert about the poor condition of its streetlights on the Moakley Bridge nearly two months before a streetlight fell, seriously injuring a pedestrian, 5 Investigates has learned. The email, dated Aug. 1, from a MassDOT engineer to a Boston city engineer, included the bridge’s recent inspection report. The MassDOT email indicated that some of the lighting standards, which are streetlights, had 100% section loss at the bases and needed attention. The bridge inspection report attached to the email contained more details about the deteriorating condition of the lampposts, referred to as lighting standards in the report. On Wednesday, 5 investigators reported for the first time on the inspection, which included photos from the scene showing holes in the metal and crumbling concrete. The state called the pole damage “serious/major”…and said they warrant repair as soon as possible. A 35-year-old woman was struck by a falling pole on Tuesday as she crossed a bridge in the Boston Seaport. The victim is in serious condition, learned 5 Investigates, and is being treated at Tufts Medical Center. The pedestrian was struck around 3 p.m. on the Evelyn Moakley Bridge, which connects Atlantic Avenue and Sleeper Street. sidewalk between the lamppost and the railing, sort of, and she didn’t move for a while,” said Michael Kriley, who saw the pole hit the woman. “Her head was on the concrete, pushed against the railing – the metal railing,” Kriley said. “I don’t know if she was with friends or family, but eventually someone started helping her sit down.” The City said “out of an abundance of caution” 23 poles of the same age from the bridge have been removed Temporary lighting will be installed on the Moakley Bridge to ensure adequate light levels until a permanent replacement can be installed, said Following the incident, Boston City Council Speaker Ed Flynn announced late Wednesday that he was calling for a full audit of the city’s bridges and streetlights to ensure the safety of residents and visitors “Furthermore, due to corrosion and deterioration caused by salt water and sea air in, it would be appropriate to emphasize all streetlights located on decks, as well as prioritizing those near the ocean,” Flynn said in a statement. “In the interest of public safety, I ask the City of Boston to continue to work closely with our state and federal partners to prevent an incident like this from happening again.” The Evelyn Moakley Bridge, named after the late wife of former Congressman Joe Moakley, and the streetlights were built in the 1990s by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation as part of the “Big Dig” project. City officials said all bridges in Massachusetts undergo a federally mandated semi-annual inspection and the Moakley Bridge was last inspected in January. As part of the inspection process in January, the condition of the lampposts – also known as lampposts – and their attachment points were reviewed. Boston officials said the streetlights were rated five on a nine-point scale. When the city received the inspection report on August 1, officials said it was provided to a bridge consulting firm two days later to develop a work plan based on the report. As of Wednesday, this work plan was still being developed.

The City of Boston received an alert about the poor condition of its streetlights on the Moakley Bridge nearly two months before a streetlight fell, seriously injuring a pedestrian, 5 Investigates has learned.

The email, dated Aug. 1, from a MassDOT engineer to a Boston city engineer, included the bridge’s recent inspection report.

The MassDOT email stated that some of the lighting standards, which are streetlights, have 100% section loss at the bases and require special attention.

The bridge inspection report attached to the email contained more details about the deteriorating condition of the lampposts, called lighting standards in the report.

On Wednesday, 5 investigators reported for the first time on the inspection, which included photos from the scene showing holes in the metal and crumbling concrete.

The state called the pole damage “serious/major”…and said it warranted repair as soon as possible.

A 35-year-old woman was struck by a falling pole on Tuesday as she crossed a bridge in the Boston Seaport. The victim is in serious condition, learned 5 Investigates, and is being treated at Tufts Medical Center.

The pedestrian was struck around 3 p.m. on the Evelyn Moakley Bridge, which connects Atlantic Avenue and Sleeper Street.

“The woman was laying on the sidewalk between the lamppost and the railing, sort of, and she didn’t move for a while,” said Michael Kriley, who saw the pole hit the woman.

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A photo obtained by 5 Investigates shows a lamp post on the Evelyn Moakley Bridge which a source said fell on a woman crossing the bridge on September 27, 2022.

“His head was on the concrete, pushed against the railing – the metal railing,” Kriley said. “I don’t know if she was with friends or family, but eventually someone started helping her sit up.”

The city said that “out of an abundance of caution” 23 posts of the same age from the bridge were removed.

Temporary lighting will be installed on the Moakley Bridge to ensure adequate light levels until a permanent replacement can be installed, the city said.

Following the incident, Boston City Council Speaker Ed Flynn announced late Wednesday that he was calling for a full audit of the city’s bridges and streetlights to ensure the safety of residents and visitors.

“In addition, due to corrosion and deterioration caused by salt water and sea air, it would be appropriate to emphasize all light poles located on decks, as well as to give priority to those close to the ocean,” Flynn said in a statement. “In the interest of public safety, I ask the City of Boston to continue to work closely with our state and federal partners to prevent an incident like this from happening again.”

The Evelyn Moakley Bridge, named after the late wife of former Congressman Joe Moakley, and the streetlights were built in the 1990s by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation as part of the “Big Dig” project.

City officials said all bridges in Massachusetts undergo a federally mandated semi-annual inspection and the Moakley Bridge was last inspected in January.

As part of the inspection process in January, the condition of the lampposts – also known as lampposts – and their mounting points were examined. Boston officials said the streetlights were rated five on a nine-point scale.

When the city received the inspection report on August 1, officials said it was provided to a bridge consulting firm two days later to develop a work plan based on the report. As of Wednesday, this work plan was still being developed.

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