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Utility Work Begins on North Washington Street Bridge

Thu October 11, 2018 - Northeast Edition #21
Massachusetts Department of Transportation


Utility work is under way on the $177 million project to replace the city of Boston-owned North Washington Street Bridge.
Utility work is under way on the $177 million project to replace the city of Boston-owned North Washington Street Bridge.

MassDOT is reminding members of the public that work-related activities including utility operations are beginning on the $177 million project to replace the city of Boston-owned North Washington Street Bridge which carries traffic over the Boston Inner Harbor between the North End and Charlestown.

This utility work will require temporary short-term travel impacts including overnight off-peak lane closures, and will be conducted in ways that seek to minimize the impact on commuters and the local community. The major construction efforts for this project are scheduled to begin in spring 2019.

Given the importance of this bridge structure for Charlestown, the North End and the entire region, MassDOT, the city of Boston and the contractor also are exploring ways to reduce the overall impact of the construction process. As options are developed and analyzed, MassDOT will host a series of public meetings to discuss construction plans. Details of these public meetings will be provided as they are finalized.

“We are committed to ensuring that construction work on the North Washington Street Bridge is carried out in ways that accommodate residents and commuters throughout this local neighborhood,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “This bridge is an important connection in the heart of Boston and we appreciate the support and input we have received from local leaders and key stakeholders throughout the design and planning process.”

In spring 2019, MassDOT will begin the significant construction operations for this bridge replacement project. At this time, and throughout most of the project, it is expected that motorists will have access to two travel lanes in the inbound direction towards Boston's North End neighborhood, and one outbound lane towards Charlestown, and pedestrian and cyclist access will be maintained. This currently excludes periods when there will be one lane in each direction, to allow the crews to demolish a portion of the main truss span and replace it with a temporary span.

“The North Washington Street Bridge connects two of the most historic neighborhoods in the city of Boston — the North End and Charlestown — and we look forward to working with our local, state and federal partners to build a replacement bridge that offers an enhanced experience for users and preserves the spirit of the neighborhoods,” said Chris Osgood, city of Boston chief of streets. “These improvements to the bridge will provide residents a high-quality and safe bridge that will serve the city of Boston for years to come.”

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 also has 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, visit mass.gov/north-washington-street-bridge-replacement.