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Longfellow Bridge from Charles Circle, May 31, 2018

Longfellow Bridge from Charles Circle, May 31, 2018

The Baker-Polito Administration has announced that the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project reached the full beneficial use milestone at 5:00 AM today. The milestone reached this morning means all vehicular travel lanes, separated bicycle lanes, and sidewalks on both sides of the bridge, as well as MBTA Red Line infrastructure are fully open for travel.

To celebrate this achievement, Governor Charlie Baker on Friday will join Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack, Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver, Congressman Michael Capuano, members of the Massachusetts Legislature, and local leaders in Boston at a ribbon-cutting event.

The Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project has upgraded the bridge’s structural capacity as well as multimodal access and bridge-to-city-street accessibility connections. Originally built in 1907, the historic bridge is a vital link between Boston and Cambridge, making important regional connections and contributing to the Charles River Basin Historic District. This is the first major rehabilitation of the bridge since 1959.

“Rehabilitating the Longfellow Bridge aligns with our administration’s commitment to improving the reliability of core transportation infrastructure while also helping ensure that roads and bridges do their job to move people to the places they need to go,” said Governor Baker. “The Department of Transportation is reaching this milestone not only due to the hard work of the work crews and engineers, but also the support and coordination with local leaders and members of the public.”

“Our administration has been proud to work closely with Boston, Cambridge and key stakeholders to rehabilitate the Longfellow Bridge to increase accessibility while maintaining the historical significance and notable design of this structure,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.

This rehabilitation project has added numerous multimodal benefits including eliminating a vehicular travel lane in the outbound direction, widening the sidewalks and bicycle lanes, and adding new MBTA Red Line track. MassDOT also updated the final design of the bridge this spring as a result of public feedback to further widen the bicycle lane in the inbound direction and add new raised vertical stanchions to physically separate the bicycle lanes and speed feedback signs on both sides of the bridge.

This project is currently expected to be completed by this winter as MassDOT crews and contractors are continuing to conduct work on the approach roadways, construct the Frances Appleton Pedestrian Bridge, and carry out finishing work including landscaping and cleanup operations.

“This regionally significant bridge serves as an important connection between neighborhoods in Cambridge and Boston and allows residents, commuters, visitors, and commercial traffic to travel to destinations throughout the area,” said Secretary Pollack. “MassDOT is pleased to reach the full beneficial use milestone so that all vehicle lanes, as well as the new separated bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and Red Line infrastructure are now open for the public to use and enjoy.”

“I am proud of the MassDOT crews and contractors for their tireless efforts in rehabilitating this important bridge structure and addressing the historical and design considerations that arose throughout this project,” said Highway Administrator Gulliver. “We have appreciated the support from elected officials, local leaders, and the public throughout this major project and we look forward completing this project by this winter.”

Located on the site of the 1793 West Boston Bridge, this steel and granite structure was completed in 1907, and renamed to honor Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1927. The bridge was then extended in 1956 and rehabilitated in 1959.

The bridge today consists of eleven original open-spandrel steel arch spans. 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 bridge carries 28,000 motor vehicles, 90,000 transit users, as well as pedestrians and bicyclists per day.

“The Longfellow Bridge is not only a vital transportation connection for commuters, bicyclists and pedestrians across the Charles River, it is also a jewel of the Boston skyline,” said Congressman Capuano. “Rehabilitating the Longfellow Bridge improves the travel experience for all who utilize it. I am very pleased that its functionality and its beauty have been restored.”

“The Longfellow Bridge is a vital connection between economic hubs in Downtown Boston and Kendall Square,” said State Senator Joseph Boncore. “This rehabilitation of this historic bridge will provide these communities with access to safe and reliable multimodal transportation options and l look forward to full completion of the project.”

“I am pleased that the full use of the surface of bridge – for the Redline, for pedestrians, for bicyclists, and for cars – will be open for the public to use and enjoy,” said State Representative Jay Livingstone. “I appreciate the diligence of MassDOT and the contractors to work through the unique issues that arose repairing the bridge so that we can use this historic structure for many decades to come.”

MassDOT undertook a comprehensive public outreach and stakeholder engagement process prior to the start of construction in order to help formulate the future design of the Longfellow Bridge. The decisions made through the Longfellow public process helped form MassDOT policies used today to provide safe, fair, and equitable sharing of limited space for public transit, non-motorized uses, and motorized uses.

For more information on the Longfellow Bridge Project, please visit the project website.

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