Temporary Bridge to Reduce Construction Impacts on North Washington Street Bridge Project

October 26, 2018
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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.

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 Jonathan 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.”

City Chief of Streets Chris Osgood said the new plan is very positive news.

“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.

Utility relocation work has already begun on the project and will result in the following changes to the traffic pattern on the bridge.

  • Site Preparation: Oct. 13-27, Preparatory work including surveys, bearing measurements, installation of signage including variable message boards, installation of air quality monitors, and borings will be taken on the piers in the median on both sides of the bridge. This will result in no travel impacts.
  • Utility Relocation: Oct. 21-27, Electrical utility relocation and upgrades on the south end of the bridge at Keany Square will continue overnight on weeknights by Eversource and on Saturday morning by Comcast. This will result in overnight off-peak lane closures of three southbound lanes at the Keany Square intersection; Saturday off-peak lane closures of two northbound lanes at the Keany Square intersection. Work hours will be overnight on weekdays (7 p.m.-5 a.m.); Saturday daytime (7 a.m.-3 p.m.)