Farlow Park Bridge and Pond Restoration

Newton, MA
Key Elements
  • Pedestrian bridge design 
  • Pond slab rehabilitation 
  • ABC techniques 

Established in 1855, Farlow Park is the first and oldest park in the City of Newton and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As the first space in the City designed for recreation, the park originally featured a man-made central pond spanned by a timber Victorian bridge. While the park still exhibits the original general design that features curving pathways, mature trees, and green lawns, the original pond was later drained at an unknown date and backfilled and seeded with lawn, and the bridge was replaced with concrete slab and a chain-link fence. 

The City engaged a landscape architect to restore the pond and reconnect the park’s paths with a pedestrian bridge spanning over the restored pond; Nitsch provided structural and civil engineering design, as well as construction engineering services for the restoration of the bridge and historic park. 

Nitsch developed a demolition plan for the removal and disposal of the existing concrete slab pedestrian bridge and abutments while protecting and maintaining the existing artificial pond structure. Our engineers then designed a prefabricated and precast concrete arch with precast U-wingwalls to replace the pedestrian bridge over the restored pond.  

In collaboration with the landscape architect, we designed a stone veneer facing of the arch and wingwalls, as well as ornamental railings, which we coordinated with the City’s Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of Farlow Park community group. Nitsch utilized accelerated bridge construction (ABC) techniques to replace the bridge and provided resident engineering during the erection of the precast concrete bridge and wingwalls. 

In addition to providing bridge design and engineering, Nitsch inspected the existing pond slab when the existing pond fill was excavated during construction. We performed inspection and concrete material testing to determine the structural integrity of the concrete pond for the rehabilitation versus replacement options, provided concrete repair designs as needed, and performed the final punch list and walkthrough. 

Key Collaborators

Owner: City of Newton Parks and Recreation Department 
Landscape Architect: Ray Dunetz Landscape Architecture