Jeff Dietrich led a community chat at the April North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) meeting to answer questions about the North Washington Street Bridge project and encourage residents to attend the upcoming public meetings.
Thursday, April 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Bunker Hill Knights of Columbus in Charlestown.
Thursday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Nazzaro Center in the North End.
Jeff, who works with Public Involvement Specialist Howard Stein Hudson, welcomed initial questions from the Council and attendees at the NEWNC meeting, as well as provided an overview of the current project plans. Watch the meeting video and follow along with the text below.
(2:00) For the most part during construction there will be two lanes going inbound to Boston and one lane going outbound, with the exception of summer 2019 when it will be one lane in each direction for about a month.
(2:40) Temporary pedestrian bridges will be installed so people have access throughout construction. The entire process should take five years.
(3:20) The traffic impacts occurring now are similar to what will be happening during construction.
(4:10) The new bridge will have widened sidewalks on both sides, a separated bike lane, a widened bump-out scenic area with benches, two travel lanes in each direction and a dedicated bus lane inbound to Boston.
(5:12) A concerned resident asks if anything will be done to improve the crosswalk at North Washington Street and Thatcher Street. Jeff mentioned there will be police detail at crosswalks within the project limits, but will have to check if Thatcher Street can be included in this detail.
(7:25) Carmine Guarino from the Council brought up the new traffic light at the end of Endicott that is causing a back-up through the North End. The light is only seven seconds long and all the cars have to go into one lane over the bridge. This traffic light is not part of the bridge project.
(8:58) The first chunk of work, estimated to begin this summer, has no traffic impact – it is relocating some existing utilities and pedestrians.
(9:20) There will be signs redirecting traffic to alternate routes throughout the project. As far out as Route 128 there will be signs that the bridge is under construction and travelers should use Route 1, I-93 or the MBTA if possible.
(10:38) The current bridge is 117 years old – it was built in 1898. It’s had three or four major structural updates since then.
(11:54) The pedestrian bridge underneath the bridge will also be raised to plan for future flooding.