As the design comes to completion for the North Washington Street [Charlestown] Bridge, Boston Public Works Deputy Commissioner, Para Jayasinghe, is making the rounds to the local neighborhood groups. The North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) heard the presentation last week and asked questions about the construction period and how the bridge will fit into the neighborhood.
The existing bridge was built in 1898 and the center span closed in 2003 for safety reasons. The new bridge has been characterized as “Zakim-lite” from a design standpoint. While the Zakim is an interstate bridge, the new N. Washington Street bridge would be more of a community connection between Charlestown and the North End / Downtown Boston. The Freedom Trail will continue to be incorporated on the bridge.
“There will be trees on this bridge,” said Mr. Jayasinghe as Public Works emphasized the extra features that are part of the design. With only four lanes of traffic, much of the span will be dedicated to bicycling and pedestrian access. The walking areas, including that along the Freedom Trail, will have added “bump out” viewing areas with seating, trees and horticulture.
The construction cost for the new bridge is roughly $100 million, mostly funded through Federal and State budgets. The “extras” such as the trees, bike lanes and surface elements are expected to be part of public/private partnerships.
Work is expected to commence in late 2016/early 2017 with a 3-4 year construction period. A major part of the reconstruction will be re-routing of gas and utility lines under the bridge. At least 3 lanes of traffic (2 entering Downtown, 1 toward Charlestown) will always be open during the construction period, according to public works.
See the related posts below for more renderings of the new bridge design. View the video above to hear the complete presentation at NEWNC.