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.

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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.

Trees and viewing areas are being designed into the new Charlestown Bridge (Public Works Image)

“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.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I am sure the Bridge is going to look Beautiful, but has anyone come up with a solution as to how they are going to
    eliminate the Overwhelming Traffic that the Everett Casino will create on this NEW BRIDGE??????

  2. The people of the North End do not use this bridge to come into the city during rush hour traffic or leave the city during rush hour traffic. So it is understandable that they are looking at aesthetics. And for $100 million dollars they will get a very beautiful looking bridge. However it will not be functional for traffic. For $100 million dollars, why can’t two more lanes be added the way it was pre 2003? We had 3 lanes going in either direction. Seems to me we are getting more traffic now and we are going backwards!

  3. Diane, You are so right. Those who give thumbs down on the Casino project have to have a Personal Interest or they
    are Gamblers. There are No. End People who do use the Bridge to go back & forth to work, and it isn’t just the
    No. End who is going to be effected, what about the West End, Charlestown & Somerville Residents? If this Casino goes in, we
    should have 6 lanes on each side, never mind 3. What about ambulances that have to go to the M.G.H.?
    Diiane, sorry to say this, but it is a fact, the name of the game is Money, which brings us to hell with Residents,
    Commuters & Ambulances, and you are going to see it get worse; unless there is a miracle.

  4. Perhaps the Casino should fund the entire project and a solution to traffic congestion if it becomes a reality.

    • GREG, What a Fabulous Idea. Maybe they can build 2 levels, each level being 2 ways. The lower level can be for
      the Residents, Commuters, etc. & the upper level can go directly to the Casino. The project will probably exceed the
      $100,000,000, but for a Casino, that’s a joke. Where there is a Will there is always a Way.

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