A construction project that has dragged on longer the entire existence of Streetsblog Massachusetts is reaching a major milestone next month, when traffic between the North End and Charlestown will start using part of the new North Washington Street Bridge.
For four years now, all bridge traffic – including foot traffic along Boston's famous Freedom Trail – has been confined to a narrow 3-lane "temporary" bridge running just upstream from the construction site, while workers demolished the old bridge and started building the new one.
Now, the eastern half of the new bridge is finally ready to open, which will allow workers to demolish the temporary bridge and start finishing the western portion of the new bridge.
"Beginning the morning of Saturday, December 9, 2023, all vehicle and pedestrian traffic will move to the east portion of the new bridge. The shift will be completed by the evening of Saturday December 9," according to a MassDOT traffic advisory.
The new bridge will eventually sport wide sidewalks, at least one dedicated bus lane, and curb-protected bike lanes to connect the North End to Charlestown. But we'll still have to wait a few more months before those amenities open.
MassDOT's construction advisory requests that people on bikes "dismount and walk their bikes along the pedestrian path, as there is no bike lane during this stage of construction."
After traffic shifts onto the new bridge, workers will begin the next phase of work, which entails demolishing the temporary bridge and completing the western side of the new bridge.
MassDOT expects the new bridge to be fully open to traffic by the end of 2024.