At long last, there is a contract.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) board of directors on Monday approved the awarding of a $177 million contract to J.F. White for replacement of the North Washington Street Bridge that carries traffic between the North End and Charlestown.
“This bridge is an important link into the heart of Boston and we have been grateful to City of Boston officials, local leaders and key stakeholders as we have worked on the design for the new bridge,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “With this project, we will fully replace this City of Boston-owned bridge, improving the motor vehicle lanes but just as importantly, improving the bridge to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit users.”
State Rep. Dan Ryan said it was great to see that the bridge project is moving forward after so many years.
“This award announcement by MassDOT is great news,” he said. “It shows that progress is happening on many long-awaited improvements in this corridor. I look forward to meeting the contractors and working with them as they work with the community in moving this project forward. Many of the still unanswered questions were pending this next step. There is a ton of work still to be done, but this award a great next step. I encourage the community to remain engaged throughout this project.”
A full community meeting on the project construction schedule with J.F. White and City and state officials has been scheduled for Thursday, April 12, at 6:30 p.m. in the Knights of Columbus Father Mahoney Hall. A similar meeting will take place on April 19 in the North End’s Nazzaro Center, 30 North Bennett St..
Work-related activities, including utility work, are currently expected to begin this spring. Construction operations are then expected to start in fall 2018, at which time traffic logistics including lane reductions will be implemented in order to allow crews to safely and effectively work on the bridge structure.
In general, throughout this construction project, motorists will have access to two travel lanes in the inbound direction towards Boston, and one outbound lane towards Charlestown, and pedestrian and cyclist access will be maintained. This excludes a one-month period in 2019 during which crews will demolish the main truss-span, meaning there can be just one lane in each direction.
As with all MassDOT projects, consideration has been given to the impact on those who use the bridge and construction activities will be undertaken in such a manner in order to minimize the impact on the traveling public and local community.
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 bus routes. MassDOT and the MBTA have been in close coordination and every effort is being made to minimize the travel time delays for these routes.
Construction is expected to be completed by fall 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 bridge is 118 years old and safe for travel currently, but due to its status, requires between $1 million-$2 million in annual repairs.