Last night MassDOT held an informational meeting about plans to rehabilitate the Eliot Bridge. The Eliot Bridge is the heavily used river-crossing that connects Route 2 and the Fresh Pond Parkway to Soldiers Field Road.
Here are the key takeaways from the meeting.
- This is a straight-forward historical preservation project. The basic design and footprint of the bridge will not change. In particular, the railings will remain low as they are.
- The only material modification planned is that the sidewalks will get wider — the four traffic lanes of the bridge (two in each direction) will go from 12 feet in width to 11, allowing the sidewalks on either side to go from 8 feet in width to 10. There will be very limited work outside the physical span of the bridge — just paint to blend in the lane-width change and curb work to blend in the sidewalk-width change.
- The project will go to bid this fall, begin in the 2024 construction season and continue into 2026.
- There will be no winter work on the project — most phases involve masonry work which can only be done when temperatures are above freezing: Early April to mid-November.
- The work will be phased so as to minimize disruptions to all bridge users.
- There will be minimal lane loss during construction. Lanes will be shifted and narrowed at times, but the project will almost always keep all four lanes open (two lanes in each direction). Occasional lane closures will be limited to off-hours.
- At least one sidewalk will be preserved at all times.
- Two of three arches of the bridge will remain open at all times to preserve access for rowers.
- No planned work will restrict pedestrian passage underneath through the passageways on either side of the bridge.
- Most construction activities will occur in daylight hours.
- The project is intended to extend the life of the structure for “10 to 20 years.” [My personal guess: This bridge will likely be used for much longer than that without further modification.]
- More project details appear here.
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