By Dan Murphy
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has unveiled the latest plans for the new North Washington Street Bridge.
Miguel Rosales, president and founder of Boston-based Rosales + Partners Transportation Design, is the architect behind the estimated $125-million bridge, which will replace the existing structurally deficient crossing that links City Square in Charlestown to the North End via the Charles River.
Rosales said the overpass would feature planted medians running its entire length, making it the city’s first “garden bridge,” and its overlooks and granite seating would offer views of the harbor and adjacent Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge, which he also designed.
The new bridge, which Rosales envisions as “a new landmark for the North End, West End and Charlestown communities and beyond,” will also be equipped with state-of-art lighting to complement that of the Zakim.
Interpretive signage on the new bridge will highlight several nearby landmarks, including Bunker Hill Monument and the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Zakim, and its wide sidewalks will incorporate Freedom Trail signage and markings.
A fifth vehicular lane dedicated solely for bus use was recently added to the design, making it the first “truly multi-modal bridge” in Boston, Rosales said, and two separated, protected cycle tracks with an unprecedented 7-foot width will allow bicyclists to comfortably pass each other on the structure.
Rosales said the design for the bridge should be completed this winter, and the project would go out to bid in the spring or summer of 2017. The construction phase is expected to last until the end of 2020, and two traffic lanes and a bike/pedestrian lane will always remain open for the duration of the job, Rosales said.
Comments on the proposal can be submitted until Sept. 24 to: Patricia Leavenworth, P.E., Chief Engineer, MassDOT, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116, ATTN: Bridge Project Management, Project File No. 604173.