J.F. White Contracting Co. – the Framingham-based general contractor for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s replacement of the North Washington Street/Charlestown Bridge – has received a Notice to Proceed (NTF) for the project.
According to MassDOT officials, the project is expected to get underway later this summer or this fall, and to continue through at least 2022. The scope of the $177 million project includes restored vehicle lanes; a dedicated bus lane, which is the first on a bridge in the Boston area; physically separated bike-lanes; wide sidewalks and an enhanced Freedom Trail; seating and lighting; and “hearty local landscaping,” – another first on a New England bridge.
Its main span over the navigation channel will stretch across a width of 200 feet, offering unobstructed sight-lines of the waterfront and harbor, as well as incorporating an expanded, curved overlook with seating and views of landmarks like Old North Church, the Bunker Hill Monument and the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge. The new bridge also features Y-shaped piers and an attractive curved trellis that Miguel Rosales, the bridge architect and president and founder of Boston-based Rosales + Partners, has incorporated into the plan to visually relate to the Zakim Bridge, which he also designed.
“The new North Washington Street/Charlestown Bridge will create a multi-modal, green and visually outstanding link between the North End and Charlestown neighborhoods over Boston Harbor,” Rosales wrote. “The design of the new bridge complements the Zakim Bridge in terms of it architectural language and aesthetics.”
Meanwhile, a MassDOT spokesperson wrote, “Whether you walk the Freedom Trail to dinner in the North End, take a bus from Chelsea or Charlestown, drive your kids to school, or kayak in the Harbor, the North Washington Street Bridge is a key part of daily life. But it has been struggling to fulfill those purposes: the center bay has been closed since 2003, and since fall 2017, ongoing emergency repairs by the City of Boston have further restricted lanes. It is due for a well-deserved retirement.”