State transportation officials issued an update on Monday regarding the North Washington Street Bridge Replacement Project. Notably, plans for a temporary bridge discussed at previous meetings have been confirmed in order to provided greater access for traffic during construction, including cars, bikes and pedestrians along the Freedom Trail. An existing playground at Paul Revere Park in Charlestown will be relocated (and expanded) within the park but further away from the construction zone. The temporary bridge was described in detail at a December 2015 public meeting (45:00 in video).
Construction is currently expected to be completed in 2023. Further details are included in the news release below.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced that it is finalizing plans for the construction of a temporary bridge structure which will carry all modes of travel during work on its $177 million project to replace the City of Boston-owned North Washington Street Bridge, which provides access for traffic over the Boston Inner Harbor between the North End and Charlestown.
Details are currently being finalized regarding the temporary bridge, which will likely be constructed beginning in 2019, and will help optimize the schedule of work and reduce the project duration by several months. The addition of the temporary bridge is not expected to impact the overall project budget.
The temporary bridge will be located next to the current bridge structure and will help promote reliable travel and minimize impacts to MBTA bus service. This will ensure that motorists have a minimum of three total travel lanes throughout the duration of the project, while providing access for bicyclists and pedestrians and reducing the need to rely on the existing bridge structure to carry traffic.
“We are committed to carrying out this major project and replacing this bridge structure in ways that minimize the impact on the traveling public and local communities,” said Highway Administrator Gulliver. “By adding a temporary bridge to our construction process, we will ensure that there are always at least three total lanes of travel available for vehicles as well as bicycle and pedestrian access, and we will help optimize the construction operations to reduce the overall duration of work.”
“The City of Boston is pleased to join with our local, state and federal partners on this comprehensive plan that will expedite the rebuilding of the North Washington Street Bridge,” said Boston Chief of Streets Chris Osgood. “With any construction project, we place a premium on ensuring residents are able to travel safely and efficiently around our city. We look forward to exchanging dialogue with our West End, Charlestown, and North End neighbors for the duration of the project.”
The addition of this temporary bridge structure will help improve bridge demolition and construction operations, and eliminate the need to reduce traffic to one lane in each direction during demolition of the main span. Pedestrian and bicycle access will be maintained on the temporary bridge, which will also mark and carry the historic Freedom Trail.
The existing playground in Paul Revere Park will need to be relocated prior to the addition of the temporary bridge. It will be relocated within the park, further west towards the North Bank Bridge. This new community asset will be rebuilt with improved amenities and will be located further from the construction zone.
A series of public meetings in Charlestown, the North End, and the West End, will be held to inform the public about the details of this construction plan. More details about these meetings will be provided as they are finalized. Members of the public are encouraged to visit the project website to sign up for email notices of these meetings.
This month, utility operations began through this project, and in spring 2019, MassDOT will begin the significant construction operations. The bridge is a critical link in the MBTA bus network, providing passage for several Haymarket destined bus routes from the north including the 92, 93, 111, and 426. MassDOT and the MBTA have been in close coordination and every effort is being made to minimize the travel time delays for these routes. MassDOT has also re-sequenced other projects including work to repair the Tobin Bridge to better accommodate public transit customers.
Construction is currently expected to be completed in 2023, and the full scope of work includes replacing the existing structurally deficient bridge, providing multi-modal amenities including widened sidewalks, separated bicycle lanes, and bus rapid transit lanes, increasing intersection safety and capability, and improving the navigation channel.
This project is being carried out to improve the functionality of the bridge and ensure reliable travel throughout this area. This bridge is 118 years old and carries intercity vehicles as well as local MBTA bus, shuttle, and tour bus routes. The bridge is currently safe for travel, but is nearing the end of its usable life cycle.
For more information on the North Washington Street Bridge Replacement Project, please visit the project website.