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About This Project


MassDOT is undertaking the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project, a major project of the Patrick Administration's Accelerated Bridge Program. The historic bridge is a vital link between Boston and Cambridge, making important regional connections and contributing to the Charles River Basin Historic District.

The three and half year rehabilitation project will address the bridge's current structural deficiencies, upgrade its structural capacity and bring it up to modern code, including improving multi-modal access and bridge-to-city-street connections to meet accessibility guidelines. The repairs and modifications will be consistent with the historic character of the bridge and comply with environmental standards.

To learn about the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project, view this animation.

Email Updates
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What's New

From Sunday, October 26 to Friday, October 31 White-Skanska-Consigli JV will continue deleading and painting the Longfellow Bridge during the overnight hours. The work requires east and westbound lane closures on Storrow Drive. Visit the Traffic Information page for complete details on the lane closures.

View the latest project update to learn about construction progress and upcoming activities.

Traffic Management
  
The Longfellow Bridge carries the MBTA Red Line and thousands of vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists each day. Due to the compressed construction period and to protect the bridge’s users and construction workers, traffic will have to be shifted as work progresses. 
The contractor is required to maintain emergency response, MBTA Red Line service, and bicycle and pedestrian access on the bridge at all times. In the current construction phase, one lane of traffic carries vehicles into Boston (using the former Cambridge-bound lane) and Cambridge-bound traffic is being detoured using a signed route. An alternate detour route uses the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge. Details on the detour routes and maps can be found on the Traffic Information page.

The preliminary work on Main Street and at Monsignor O'Brien Highway/Route 28 in Cambridge to accommodate traffic changes has modified the First Street ramp to Main Street in Kendall Square.  The Main Street crossover graphic shows the new configuration. Vehicles can continue to use the ramp for right turns for Cambridge destinations. Vehicles wishing to reach Boston from Land Boulevard should use Binney Street and Third Street to reach Main Street or stay on Memorial Drive westbound and use Wadsworth Street to Main Street. Please note: Memorial Drive has truck restrictions.

The project includes replacing the MBTA Red Line tracks, and other work in close proximity to them.
Learn more on the Red Line Weekend Diversion webpage.

To report issues or concerns or for questions related to construction, please use the dedicated project hotline, 617-519-9892, or the project email address, longfellowbridge@state.ma.us.

Proposed Work

In this design, the bridge's distinctive architectural features will be preserved or restored, while the deteriorated structural elements of the bridge are carefully rehabilitated. All new elements of the work will be sensitively designed to complement the bridge's historic character and its prominent position within the historic Charles River basin.

The primary objective of the proposed rehabilitation is to address the bridge's current structural deficiencies, upgrade its structural capacity, and bring the bridge up to modern code. In particular, the structural steel elements supporting the bridge deck have deteriorated and require upgrading, and the abutments will have to be modified slightly to allow the sidewalk approaches to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility guidelines. At the same time, the bridge's ornate pedestrian railings will be restored or replicated, its masonry elements will be cleaned and conserved, and an appropriate new bridge lighting system will be designed. Areas on the riverbanks disturbed by the project will be carefully landscaped to tie the bridge into its historic setting.
Updated renderings of the completed bridge rehabilitation project are available for review.

Background

The Longfellow (originally, the Cambridge) Bridge is one of the most architecturally distinguished bridges in Massachusetts. Located on the site of the 1793 West Boston Bridge, this graceful steel and granite structure was completed in 1908, and renamed to honor Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1927. 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 1908 bridge was extended in 1956 and rehabilitated in 1959. 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.

Environmental and Historic Resources
The project team will continue to review key historical, architectural and environmental aspects of the rehabilitation, including coordinating with Section 106 Consulting Parties (Massachusetts Historical Commission, Boston Landmarks Commission and Cambridge Historical Commission), the Boston and Cambridge Conservation Commissions and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

Tree Protection and Removal Plan
As part of the rehabilitation of the historic and iconic Longfellow Bridge and construction of a new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant pedestrian bridge across Storrow Drive to the Esplanade, several trees must be removed or transplanted. The tree protection and removal plan has been presented at numerous public meetings and hearings during the previous phase of the project, including general public information meetings and hearings for the Environmental Assessment, Environmental Notification Form and Notices of Intent. MassDOT has also coordinated extensively with the Department of Conservation and Recreation in preparing the plan and understands the value residents and visitors place on trees. Every effort has been made to minimize the number of impacted trees through careful design. A landscape architect and a certified arborist are part of the project team.

White-Skanska-Consigli is transplanting and removing trees in phases. The first phase was in summer 2013. A second phase was completed this spring. Notice will be provided prior to future tree removals.
 Project Updates
MassDOT is committed to public outreach throughout construction. An issues tracking system during construction ensures that problems and concerns are addressed in a timely manner.
To report issues or concerns or for questions related to construction, please use the dedicated project hotline, 617-519-9892, or email address, longfellowbridge@state.ma.us.
Interested in keeping in touch with this project? Sign up for Longfellow Bridge project updates.
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