25 INVESTIGATES: City of Boston warned of light pole concerns prior to one falling

BOSTON — Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said the city will examine all its infrastructure after a rusted light pole fell on a woman in the Seaport Tuesday afternoon.  The massive light pole seriously injured a 35-year-old woman walking across the Moakley bridge.  It snapped from the bottom and fell on a walking path.

The bridge from the Seaport to Atlantic Avenue was supposed to close to foot traffic after the failure but a steady stream of walkers continued to cross it Thursday afternoon when a 25 Investigates crew visited.

Ian Millard from Dorchester said he learned of the safety failure shortly after it happened.  “I was just riding my bike past and saw the light and I saw it lying down,” he said.

A report obtained by 25 Investigates, shows state inspectors last examined the bridge in January of this year.  Pictures from the MASSDOT inspection show multiple light poles were found to be rusted with holes in them.  The state classified the damage as a “severe or major deficiency” that needed to be addressed “ASAP”.

Mackenzie Marks frequently crosses the bridge.  “It’s really important for the city to get on that issue especially with so many people crossing this bridge every day,” she said.

Residents also reported concerns about the lights to BOS311.  It’s a non-emergency citizen complaint portal. One submission from October 2018 said, “the base of most of the light posts are seriously corroded. One has already fallen during (the) storm.”  Another 311 complaint from Sep 21, 2017, shows a broken light pole on its side.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu was asked about the previous 311 complaints and the potential of a lawsuit from the injured woman.  Wu said she was not sure what will happen in terms of liability.  She said, “we need to do our part as well and not just leave it to 311 to happen to point out something that actually may need a deeper inside look.”

When asked what she would say to the victim, Wu told reporters, “This is unacceptable. And we will make sure that this situation is one that we are prepared for and proactively looking for as we step into this role to check on all the infrastructure across Boston.”

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