Light Fixture Falls From Tobin Bridge

Highway Administrator Frank DePaola answers questions during a press conference about a light fixture that fell onto the roadway of Route 1 in Charlestown, on the ramp leading to the Tobin Bridge. (Kathleen McNerney/WBUR)

Highway Administrator Frank DePaola answers questions during a press conference about a light fixture that fell onto Route 1 in Charlestown, on the ramp to the Tobin Bridge. (Kathleen McNerney/WBUR)

BOSTON — Massachusetts transportation officials confirmed Thursday that a light fixture resembling a spotlight fell from the upper deck of Boston’s Tobin Bridge, likely because of age and corrosion.

Officials say the light fell from the upper portion of the bridge, which connects Charlestown and Chelsea, to its lower deck around noon on Thursday. The falling light didn’t cause any damage or injuries.

Transportation officials said the light was more than 20 years old and may have been loosened by Wednesday’s high winds. It’s a different type of light than the 110-pound lights used in the Big Dig tunnels.

Highway workers have done an initial inspection of 12-to-20 similar light fixtures, and will conduct a more thorough inspection to look for other signs of corrosion.

“We will physically grab each light and see that it’s attached, and if it’s not, it will be taken down and replaced with a new light fixture in the near future,” said Highway Administrator Frank DePaola at a Thursday evening news conference.

Each light costs about $1,000 to replace.

DePaola maintained that the roadways are safe. But he said this is a sign of the state’s aging highway infrastructure, and the need for more funding.

“It would be good for us to be replacing more of them than we currently have the resources to do, but within the resources we have, we feel we’re maintaining a safe transportation network,” he said.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

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  • X-Ray

    The bridge Administration says they are replacing light fixtures as fast as
    funds will allow and need more money. But do they do any inspections to pinpoint
    where their efforts are necessary and what work needs to be done? I think

    • Nebigfoot

      Limited funds limited resoures.  Check your facts before you comment.  Do you have any idea how much of the MASS transportation budget goes to the Big Dig for loan payments and maintenance. 

  • spikethedog

    The Golden Gate Bridge has painters on it year-round. When’s the last time we saw someone painting the Tobin Bridge? Once every ten years?

    • Nebigfoot

      It’s currently being painted!

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