Boston is regularly featured in the media as one of the most desirable cities to do business in. Americans love one this innovative town. The world’s first phone call was made here in 1870s. One hundred years later the first email was sent from the campus of MIT. Equal historic distance from being on a landline to going online the first superhighway beltway was delivered here called Route 128. The early beltway was considered an East Coast Silicon Valley where the Massachusetts Miracle technology boom took root. So why then this question, “Are we connected?”
I took this blog entry’s picture last week: July 9, 2013. The wires seen are hanging below Boston’s Congress Street Bridge which passes over the city’s Fort Point Channel, a part of Boston Harbor, site of the infamous Boston Tea Party. The channel was created during the industrial revolution to support the nation’s supply chain moving, among other products’s, goods emanating from Boston’s leather footwear industry. Today, tech firms, financial service companies, insurance firms clustered along its seawalls in equally important work of another day.
These cables supposedly carry the city’s most sensitive information. Some traveling between financial services companies and their investors around the nation, data that’s too important to be dropped, moves through these wires hanging over – and in – the ocean’s salty water.
The image might make you think: Storm surge? Flooding? Temporary work?
Nope. They’ve been hanging in a suspend state for years. This image was taken before high tide was high. The wires were strung several years ago after the bridge was retrofitted at the cost of tens of millions of dollars. After many years of less than par work to restore the 192os structure it is safe to admit the work was and is shoddy. Not only are the wires spending a part of the day underwater, the bridge’s paint job was faulty and its new expansion joints needed replacing within months of the bridge’s behind schedule and over budget opening.
Water levels are forcing us to rethink the electrical and digital grids that sit near – or in – the ocean’s water. Shoddy work makes the job more costly – and dire. We must build better and faster.