Bridging the basin - Charles River bridge reconstruction
The Charles River Basin is home to some of Boston's most iconic landmarks and public spaces: the "salt-and pepper shaker" towers on the Longfellow Bridge, the Esplanade and the Hatch Shell. It is also home to some of the region's most important roadways and bridges. Those roads, and the bridges crossing the river between them, are vital to the region's transportation network ensuring mobility for hundreds of thousands of commuters via transit, bike, walking, and driving everyday.
With the Commonwealth's Accellerated Bridge Program over $400 million in funding has been allocated to improving the conditions of structurally deficient bridges in the Lower Basin area of the Charles River. These improvements will provide a sound infrastructure system for generations. This site will provide you with important information regarding the projects major impacts and milestones, options for avoiding traffic delays, and links to key resources you may need in planning your next trip through the area.
November 6, 2010 - April 2011
Craigie Drawbridge at Leverett Circle
MassDOT will begin reconstruction of the Craigie Drawbridge near Leverett Circle. The work is scheduled to take up to six-months and will require the closure of all inbound travel lanes over the Craigie Drawbridge into Leverett Circle. Outbound traffic lanes from Leverett Circle into Cambridge will remain open during construction.
Update: Beginning January 8, 2011 and lasting approximately 12 weeks, the Craigie Drawbridge will be closed to inbound (Cambridge to Boston) traffic. Traffic on Route 28 southbound will be detoured at the intersection with Land Boulevard. Bicycles and pedestrians will not be detoured, and drivers will be able to access the Museum of Science and Museum Way during the closure. Please see below for more information about detour routes.
Popular Detour Routes
It is advisable to seek alternate routes for use of the O’Brien Highway and the Craigie Bridge to Leverett Circle as far away from the bridge as possible in order to avoid increased congestion near the bridge. All inbound routes from the north will ultimately arrive at I-93 or Rutherford Avenue in Charlestown to bypass the O’Brien Highway. Inbound routes from East Cambridge will be detoured via Land Boulevard to the Longfellow Bridge or via the Gilmore Bridge to Rutherford Avenue.
Access will be maintained at all times to the Museum of Science and North Point via the O’Brien Highway from Cambridge or from Boston.
Pedestrian access over temporary bridges will also be maintained at all times.
For a list of detailed detour routes please click here
View Craigie Bridge Detours in a larger map
The more that people commute by bike, walk, public trasit, vanpool, or carpool, the easier it will be to travel over and around the Charle River Basin area. The following is a list of options available aimed at making your commute through the area a bit less stressful.
- MBTA - traveling from East Cambridge, Arlington, Somerville into Lechmere Station via bus and transfering to Green Line
- Vanpools - click for a list of vanpools travel into Boston from points north, west, and south of the city.
- Ridematching - find potential matches for carpooling
- Private Bus Operators - a full list of private bus operators traveling into Boston from points north, west, and south
Local TMAs provide exemplary commuter benefits programs and transportation services to their members, that are aimed at increasing the use of public transit, ridesharing, biking, and walking. If your worksite or building is a member of a TMA please visit their site for specific promotions they may be operating during bridge construction. If you are not a member of a TMA click here to request information on how you may become a member of these important organizations.
A Better City TMA: serving downtown Boston and the Back Bay. New registrants from November 1 - March 30, 2011 will receive an extra $50.
Charles River TMA: serving Cambridge
CommuteWorks at MASCO: serving the Longwood Medical Area
Seaport TMA: serving the South Boston Waterfront
TranSComm: serving BU Medical Center and the South End
While access for cyclists will remain open across the Craigie Bridge at all times during construction extra caution must be used when traveling through an active construction zone. For those individuals that would like to use an alternative route during construction the following map will provide you with a few options.
View Craigie Bridge Construction and Beyond in a larger map
Bike route inbound (from Cambridge to Boston)
On November 5th, the inbound drawbridge including the sidewalk will be out of commission.
Bicyclist traveling inbound will need to cross with pedestrians at the Museum of Science and walk or respectively ride on the north - east sidewalk to cross the bridge.
Bike route inbound DETOUR (west of McGrath Hwy)
For origins west of McGrath Hwy, bike to Kendall Square (Main at Third) in Cambridge and follow Main Street over the Longfellow Bridge to Charles Circle.
Bike route inbound DETOUR (east of McGrath Hwy)
For origins east of McGrath Hwy, bike to Thompson Square (Main at Austin)
-Proceed on Main Street
-Left on City Square
-Right on Chelsea Street
-Left on Rutherford / Washington
-Proceed over the Charlestown Bridge
An alternative option to the Charlestown Bridge is walking your bike through the Paul Revere park locks (opposite corner of Chelsea and Rutherford Hwy).
Bike route outbound (Boston to Cambridge)
On November 5th, the inbound drawbridge including the sidewalk will be out of commission.
Bicyclist traveling outbound can ride on the road as usual.
Bike route outbound DETOUR (west of McGrath Hwy)
For destinations west of McGrath Hwy, bike to Charles Circle (Cambridge at Storrow) and proceed over the Longfellow Bridge to Third Street.
Bike route outbound DETOUR (East of McGrath Hwy)
For destinations east of the McGrath Hwy, bike to Commercial at Washington and proceed over the Charlestown Bridge.
-Right on Chelsea
-Left on Warren to Thompson Square
An alternative to to the Charlestown bridge is walking your bike through the Paul Revere Park locks which you can access from Beverly Street (just to the right of the Zakim Bridge)
Via Public Transit
- Logan Express from Anderson Regional Transit Center in Woburn: offers full-service bus terminals and secure parking at each location with direct service to all of Boston Logan's terminals (lower level).
- MBTA Silver Line: offers direct connection via silver line bus from South Station to all of Boston Logan's terminals (lower level).
- MBTA Blue Line: offers direct connection via airport shuttle from Airport Station to all of Boston Logan's terminals (lower level).
When traveling from the North, I-93 South to the Callahan Tunnel is still the best route. To view the route click here.
Craigie Dam Bridge
The Craigie Dam Bridge consists of 9 sluice ways and was constructed in 1906. Project goals include replacing all damaged and deteriorated structural members along with the reconstruction of the bridge deck and the sidewalks. The pedestrian walkway on the southwest side of the bridge (adjacent to the Museum of Science) will be widened to accommodate pedestrians and bicycles. Visit the Craigie Dam Bridge project site.
The Craigie Drawbridge is a Twin Double-Leaf Bascule Bridge was originally constructed in 1910 and replaced in 1962. This project includes the complete replacement of the bridge superstructure and bridge deck as well as the machinery and electrical components. During construction temporary bridge structures will be utilized to carry traffic. Visit the Craigie Drawbridge project site.
The Longfellow (originally, the Cambridge) Bridge is one of the most architecturally distinguished bridges in Massachusetts. The bridge joins Cambridge Street in Boston with Main Street in Cambridge and carries the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Red Line and two-way vehicular traffic across the Charles River. The bridge presently carries 28,000 motor vehicles, 90,000 transit users, and significant numbers of pedestrians and bicyclists each day.
The bridge today consists of eleven original open-spandrel steel arch spans plus two steel girder approach spans at the Cambridge end. The bridge has an overall length of 2,135 feet, and a deck width of 105 feet, which includes a 27-foot fenced median occupied by the Red Line. The existing cross-section provides an upstream 6-foot sidewalk and a 33-foot wide roadway while the downstream side consists of a 10-foot sidewalk and 29-foot wide roadway. The bridge's substructure is built of granite block masonry and consists of ten hollow piers and two hollow abutments. The two central piers carry the signature pairs of neoclassically inspired dressed granite towers that have given the bridge its popular nickname - the Salt and Pepper Bridge. Visit the Longfellow Bridge project site.
Boston University Bridge
The goals of the Boston University Bridge Rehabilitation Project are to restore the bridge’s structural integrity and enhance accessibility. This project includes a full deck replacement and the rehabilitation of the downstream sidewalk. Additional superstructure repair work and a new environmentally friendly drainage system will also be installed. The bridge rehabilitation will preserve as many of the original historic elements as possible. Visit the BU Bridge project site.
Western Avenue & River Street Bridges
The River Street Bridge links the Allston section of Boston to Cambridge via River Street. Traffic on the River Street Bridge is one-way, eastbound, from Allston into Cambridge. The Western Avenue Bridge links Cambridge to Allston, via Western Avenue. Traffic on the Western Avenue Bridge is one-way, westbound, from Cambridge into Allston.
The purpose of the project is to repair and rehabilitate the foundations and superstructure of the Western Avenue and River Street Bridges to ensure that both bridges are able to continue to safely carry vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic for another 75 years. Repairs to the bridges will address both structural deficiencies, such as deteriorated concrete, as well as functional deficiencies such as inadequate site lines where the bridges meet Soldiers’ Field Road and Memorial Drive. Visit the Western Avenue & River Street Bridge project site.
Anderson Memorial Bridge
The Anderson Memorial Bridge, popularly known as the “Larz Anderson Bridge,” is a vital transportation link connecting the cities of Cambridge and Boston and the primary connection between two Harvard University campuses. The bridge is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places as an integral and contributing component of the Charles River Basin Historic District.
The goals of the Anderson Memorial Bridge Rehabilitation Project are to improve the bridge’s structural integrity and enhance accessibility. The project will repair deteriorated elements of the bridge, upgrade structural capacity and improve local street connections and accessibility. The proposed rehabilitation will respect the documented historic status of this landmark structure and preserve as many of the original elements as possible. MassDOT is committed to the goals of minimizing disruptions to all bridge users and maintaining access during rehabilitation construction. Visit the Anderson Memorial Bridge project site.
Magazine Beach Pedestrian Bridge
This project consists of the complete demolition andreplacement of the existing pedestrian bridge over Memorial Drive. This bridge has been severely damaged due to vehicular impact. The new superstructure will be designed for a 75-year service life. The project will also includethe installation of an over height detection system and ADA compliant ramps and code compliant handrails.