Featured Transportation

North Washington Street Bridge Project Approved

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Board of Directors have approved a $177 million contract to replace the North Washington Street Bridge between the North End and Charlestown.

Work-related activities including utility work are expected to begin this Spring and construction operations in the Fall. The bridge, including widened sidewalks, separated bike lanes, bus rapid transit lanes, and landscaping between pedestrians/bicyclists and vehicular traffic, is predicted to be complete by Fall 2023.

MassDOT will hold two public meetings regarding this project. The North End meeting will be Thursday, April 19 at 6:30pm at the Nazzaro Center.

Miguel Rosales, President of Rosales+ Partners has designed this new Charlestown bridge in collaboration with Benesch local engineers. The bridge, designed to complement the nearby Zakim Bridge, will include Y-shaped piers and an attractive curved trellis that visually relates to the iconic bridge. The main span over the navigation channel will create 200ft wide opening views to the waterfront and the harbor.

Photo renderings provided by Miguel Rosales.

MassDOT expects that, in general during construction, motorists will have access to two travel lanes inbound towards Boston, and one outbound lane towards Charlestown. Pedestrian and cyclist access will be maintained. This excludes a one month period in 2019 when crews will demolish the main truss span, so only one lane in each direction will be available.

This project is being carried out to improve the functionality of the bridge and ensure reliable travel throughout this area. As explained by Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver:

“This bridge is an important link into the heart of Boston and we have been grateful to City of Boston officials, local leaders and key stakeholders as we have worked on the design for the new bridge. With this project, we will fully replace this City of Boston-owned bridge, improving the motor vehicle lanes but just as importantly, improving the bridge to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit users.”

See more NorthEndWaterfront.com coverage of the North Washington Street / Charlestown Bridge here.

25 Replies to “North Washington Street Bridge Project Approved

  1. Bus *lane. Only one bus lane is planned, which is good because as we all know buses only travel in one direction.

  2. Leave it in shambles for 20 years then start contruction and leave 1 lane going each way open right when the first full casino in mass opens around the corner. Who’s the genius that came up with this?

    1. It’s actually better than I initially thought. Initially I heard that the btidge would be out completely for this project. This would have been far more disruptive. As it stands now we are going to have to deal with constant traffic tie ups and hope that the project doesn’t become another Big Dig.

  3. Big Jay, Kudos to You. You are so right, it is Frightening. This Casino is going to cause more Chaos than
    one could ever imagine. I believe the Bridge should be repaired, but to shut it down completely will be
    maddening & those that designed it might never travel over it.

  4. The pictures look very nice, but I don’t think those plants will last long because of all the salt they dump on that thing during the winter.

  5. Hi everyone,

    Our April 9th Community Chat will feature a presentation by one of the MassDOT consultants on the North Washington Street (Charlestown) Bridge project. We hope you can attend to get updates on the project and to provide feedback before their public meeting on the 19th!

    Thank you!

    John Pregmon
    President, NEWNC

  6. This bridge is out of hand. The “beautification” of this bridge will add millions of dollars and years to the project.

    It is a BRIDGE not a playground or public park. There is no need for benches and trees and bushes and fancy designs.

    This area continues to be developed. This is the biggest tourist destination in New England. The inbound side of the bridge should be 3 lanes along with a bike lane and what not.

    1. So the city shouldn’t make the bridge nice and aesthetically pleasing? You mention tourism….how many tourists travel the Freedom Trail from North End to Charlestown? I would argue it could be a public park should it be designed as such……

      1. In addition, it’s part of the Harborwalk. Locals commute, run, ride bikes all along the harbor specifically because it’s nice and better than managing on small, local, crowded streets. More than “just a bridge” is precisely why it’s being designed the way it is. And the millions of dollars and years to the project because of benches and trees!? That’s got to be a joke, right?

        1. The southbound section of the bridge is backed up every day to the shell gas station by 2pm.

          Rather than benches and trees they should have another lane of traffic going into the city. For vehicles and possibly even public transportation.

          And yes the trees and benches are expensive to install. And besides the price of installation people need to be paid to maintain and clean them all year round so yes it does get expensive.

          Once again it is a bridge, not a park. It serves as a structure to get over a body of water. Meant for vehicles and bicycles and foot traffic. If people want to enjoy the views and stroll and sit down there are beautiful walkways and parks right below the bridge (converse building)

    2. I agree mark, totally unnecessary. Put up a bridge so people can get from one side to the other. No need for benches and trees and all these other BS. They are acting as if we are redoing the museum of fine arts. The benches will be great for the people who fish illegally off of the bridge. Maybe we should put a jungle gym too!

    3. Good point about the 3 lanes. The hour glass where 3 lanes converge to 2 is a panic currently. A good question is how much will the shrubs (which could die off quickly) and benches with there additional pedestrian space escalate the cost of the project? Let’s face it, people lingering on the bridge will a dubious gain to business, but many commuters depend on the bridge.

      I hope they keep the Christmas lights.

  7. Mark, I agree with almost everything you said. I like beautiful things just like everyone else, but if the beauty is
    going interfere with the commute of people coming & going out of the City & cripples us, NO. I feel there
    should be 3 Lanes on each side because this is such a High Traffic Area & has been for many years.
    Closing the Bridge down all together is my definition of INSANITY, not to mention it has no regard for those that
    have to work for a living & travel over this bridge 5 days a week. Our Mayor doesn’t have to travel over this
    bridge because he lives in Dorchester, or wherever & the people that designed it probably are Not effected.
    Bottom Line – People only get away with what you allow them to get away with. Do you see anyone from this
    Neighborhood Protesting outside of City Hall regarding Snow Removal, Trash, Noise & Rats? NO
    I am a firm believer in the Wheel that squeaks the loudest gets the grease. There is definitely not enough
    people fighting for any of these important issues. If it comes down to Tourist or Residents, the Residents
    should always come first. Look at the Big Dig, it destroyed businesses & inconvenienced so many residents & now it is Obsolete. The Casino is going to be another issue regarding the closing of the bridge.

  8. It’s going to be both, a structure over a body of water and a nice walking, biking, park. Looking forward to it. Can’t wait to stroll and sit along the bridge and take in the view.

    1. People are going to be inundated with diesel fumes as they are sitting along this bridge. You understand that, correct?

      As long as the bridge safely carries vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians over it, I don’t care what it looks like…it doesn’t need to be “aesthetically pleasing”, IMO.

      1. The bridge repair has to be done no question.My biggest fear is that the project will take more time to complete than the construction of the Pyramids .

  9. I mentioned 3 Lanes on each side of this bridge for vehicles. All bicycle lanes should never be on the bridge
    where the vehicles are, a portion of the sidewalk should be for bicycles. The Bridge can be made
    very attractive, but any benches for tourist to sit & more important, Residents, should be below, near the Tennis Court.
    We have to put Necessity before Luxury. The easier it is for Cars to get in & out of the City
    should be the Main Objective, and this Bridge should never, ever be closed all together during construction,
    especially with the Casino Construction going on in Everett. Safety before Beauty, especially if there is a
    Fire in either the No. End or Charlestown. Fire Fights from both Charlestown & No. End have always been
    able to assist each other, what route do they have to take if this Bridge is closed all together? That would be
    a Nite Mare. SAFETY should be the Priority here, not Beauty, and I can’t say it enough.

  10. I disagree with the folks who don’t want beautiful bridges and places to sit. We can afford to provide both function and beauty in our Boston bridges. In dense old cities bridges crossing over rivers provide some of the best places to pause and take in the views. The views from this bridge will be outstanding. Livability is one of Boston’s competitive advantages. Kudos to MassDOT for recognizing this and investing in our city.

    1. You missed some really good points that people brought up about utility over astetics. In the end this will be a very expensive project and the basic purpose of the bridge is not to be a work of art. Adding lanes was a really good point, because it makes no sense to recreate today’s problem in a more beautiful way.

  11. Kudos T. Mobile, Beautifully Expressed. God Bless You. I too love Beauty, but let us face the Facts, this
    Bridge is not the width of 93 or the Mass. Turnpike. This area is extremely narrow, and is the entrance & exit
    way out of the City. I care more about those that have to travel to go to WORK than the Park Benches, and
    whatever they want to put there. The Main Function of this Bridge should be to get people in & out of the
    City as SAFE & QUICKLY as Possible. I walked down Endicott St. & people think this is a short cut to go over
    the Bridge & they start beeping their horns, wondering why it is taking so long to get down the street. The
    street light, if you are lucky, only allows 2 or possible 3 cars to go thru. Did the City step up to the plate
    to do anything about this matter? NO. What else is new? I also heard the Construction will take until
    2023. Ridiculous. They build Sky Scrapers faster than this. SAFETY above all should be the Main Issue.
    I only hope somebody that is involved in the Construction of this Bridge gets this.

  12. Five years to complete the repair of this bridge is totally INSANE! It took only ten years to complete the “Big Dig” and that was a cluster f–k. The purpose of a bridge is to safely traverse water and while aesthetics are important they shouldn’t be the main consideration. It took less time to erect the Empire State Building! A simple bridge in Boston connecting Charlestown should not take more than a year.

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