Renovations Begin on Tunnel Vent Building

The $6 million project to re-brick the Callahan Tunnel Vent Building here in East Boston is underway and will take a year and a half to complete.

At a meeting Monday night, MassDOT’s John Romano said from a construction standpoint the project is very simple and should be completed by spring 2015.

“What we are doing is taking down all the brick on the building and putting up new brick,” said Romano.

Over the years, the aging building that was built in the 1960s has fallen into disrepair. For decades bricks have been falling off the building forcing the state to fence off the area and put up protective netting to prevent bricks from falling to the sidewalks below.

According to Project Manager Ed Lynch, MassDOT’s contractors will work on one side of the building at a time. It will take approximately four months per side.

“We will be using enclosed scaffolding with sound control blanketing to minimize the noise and dust impacts to the surrounding neighborhood,” said Lynch.

MassDOT officials at the meeting said there are a number of hazardous materials that will be released during construction. There was some concern, given the vent building’s close proximity to East Boston Central Catholic School, on the types of materials being released into the air.

Romano said that MassDOT plans to do work on the side of the vent building that faces the school during the winter months.

“The school runs a summer program and in the fall and spring the students use the schoolyard during recess so we are planning to do the work closest to the school during the winter months when the schoolyard is not used and the windows at the school are closed.

Lynch said MassDOT will take measures and use sophisticated monitoring in compliance with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to ensure impacts are minimal.

Work on the building will be conducted between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and workers will be asked to use a shuttle or public transportation as to not interfere with residential parking during construction.

The project is part of $6 million project to replace the bricks at the Callahan Tunnel vent buildings here and in the North End.

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