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For Immediate Release: 05/14/2012
CONTACT: MassDOT Press Office
(617) 973-8472

Patrick-Murray Administration, Congressman Capuano Celebrate Chelsea Street Bridge Opening

Signature Transportation Infrastructure Investment Replaces Deficient Bridge

BOSTON - Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey joined Congressman Mike Capuano along with state and local officials to celebrate the opening of the new Chelsea Street Bridge carrying Chelsea Street over the Chelsea Creek at the Boston/Chelsea line.   The bridge reopened to traffic on Saturday, May 12. 

The signature $125.3 million project replaced a structurally-deficient drawbridge with a new bridge that is the largest permanent lift bridge built in Massachusetts to date.  The new structure will improve the efficiency and operation of the bridge for vehicle traffic and for critical maritime vessels to safely navigate the channel.

“We made a long-term commitment to address our neglected roads and bridges and make strategic investments across the Commonwealth using federal and state resources and innovative funding mechanisms,” said Governor Deval Patrick.  “The new Chelsea Street Bridge is just the latest example of this commitment, a project creating and sustaining jobs while building a bridge that will serve this area for decades to come.”

“The Chelsea Street Bridge is a critical project that better serves drivers and pedestrians along with the maritime industry,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.  “The results of our investments in roads and bridges can be seen today in every region of the Commonwealth.”

“The new Chelsea Street Bridge not only helps improve traffic in the area, it also represents increased safety for the vessels navigating the Chelsea Creek.  The old bridge was narrower, making it a challenge to transport fuel and other supplies to their destinations at Logan Airport and elsewhere.  Officials worked hard to minimize traffic disruptions during construction and I thank everyone involved for their efforts.  I am very pleased to be here today celebrating the completion of the Chelsea Street Bridge,” stated Congressman Capuano.

“The Chelsea Street Bridge is a great achievement accomplished, with minimal disruption to auto and marine traffic, through intergovernmental teamwork, public engagement, and coordination with private industry,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino.  “By minimizing construction time and disruptions to navigation, the Chelsea Creek remained active providing the region’s fuel needs throughout construction.  Now that this project is complete, we hope it will make fuel delivery most cost-efficient.”

“The Patrick-Murray Administration is truly building a legacy of investment road-by-road and bridge-by-bridge,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey, “and I want to thank our Highway Division staff and the contractors for a successful outcome to this important and complex project.”

“I applaud MassDOT and Secretary Richard Davey for the successful completion of the Chelsea Street Bridge project,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo.  “The beautiful new structure will ease the traffic burden on Revere, Chelsea, and East Boston commuters and is a step in the right direction as the Greater Boston area looks to continue improving efficiency and infrastructure.”

“I am very pleased that the Chelsea Street Bridge is now open.  This new, state of the art bridge serves as a vital connection for the people of East Boston to the surrounding communities and its opening will significantly help ease the traffic burdens for our neighborhood,” said Rep. Carlo P. Basile.

“The opening of this bridge marks a tremendous upgrade in the safety and quality of transportation in this heavily traveled area of the Commonwealth," 2nd Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein said.  “I am thankful to Governor Patrick and MassDOT for their dedication to this project and their ongoing commitment to strengthen the state's transportation system.  The enhanced infrastructure will benefit the City of Chelsea and all those who travel through this region for years to come.”

The project includes a truss-type structure that spans 450 feet and provides 175 feet of vertical clearance when raised.  The new bridge and approach roadway provides two lanes of traffic in each direction and two pedestrian sidewalks.

To accommodate the massive size and tight space constraints in the bridge area, MassDOT contractors J. F. White Contracting Co. of Framingham used an innovative technique of launching the truss across the river.  The launching sequence of the truss bridge across the channel was carefully designed to minimize disruption of the navigation channel below. 

The project also addresses safety and the environment, improving longstanding issues caused by the narrow passageway used by oil tankers that resulted in accidents and the potential for oil spills.

Final work continues during May and early June, requiring overnight closures that will not affect weekday commuter traffic.  Additional work will be completed during the day after the morning commute with at least one lane of traffic open in each direction.

For transportation news and updates visit MassDOT at our website: www.mass.gov/massdot, blog: www.mass.gov/blog/transportation, or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.