City to partially close Charlestown bridge for emergency repairs tonight after holes erupt

Garry Waldeck videoed this on the inbound side of the North Washington Street bridge yesterday. BTD reports the inbound side will be shut at 7 tonight for repairs, with one outbound lane converted to an inbound one.

Photos of the holes.



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        Let me be the first of many

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        to point out that if "historically authentic" bridge construction techniques weren't a priority in the rehabilitation of the Longfellow Bridge, then you wouldn't have two bridges out right now.

        citations needed

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        citations needed

        These are rumors. Back them up?

        Check out the records of the various public hearings and

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        neighborhood meetings held for the first phase of the Big Dig, aka the Central Artery North Area (CANA) project. You'll find many references to the fact that the work allowed on the North Washington Street bridge was severely restricted because of the bridge's "historical significance."

        Let me be the first of many to say

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        So what?

        The Longfellow carries at most 300 cars an hour at rush hour.

        Would not make the slightest bit of difference because Kendall Square and Charles Circle can't handle the kind of traffic you dream of crossing there.

        Oh! If only there was a

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        Oh! If only there was a fully in-service river crossing between those two spans...

        ...oh, there is one*:

        Charles River Dam Rd aka route 28 or whatever you want to call it.

        * the Green Line, Leverett Connector, commuter rail, Orange Line, I-93/Zakim, and whatever they call that little ramp from the Sumner Tunnel and Sudbury St that hangs off the side of the Zakim and crosses the river separately from 93.

        Two bridges out?

        Not quite yet. We also have multiple alternate routes.

        Certainly not ideal, can totally be a pain in the arse (that bridge is my main way in and out of the city by bike), but there are alternatives. The Longfellow being down is far less consequential to car drivers than when the Harvard Bridge was rebuilt by halves (and the many years before that when it was down to one lane each way and the #1 bus could not cross it).

        Absolutely a better situaton than this >2 year clustercrock on Lake Champlain, which required 15 or 25 mile detours to two completely overwhelmed ferries that could not run in the winter (until a free every 15 minute ferry service at the demolished bridge was organized 24/7/365).

        The Longfellow and North Washington are still open, actually. This at most a moderate inconvenience.


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        Back when I was a messenger there were two places I hated going the most. One was deep into the Seaport or Southie because you typically took Summer St and the metal grating bridges. Charlestown was the other place. Those gratings were horrible in nice weather and hell when wet or icy. I hope the replacement for this bridge doesn't have such nonsense and is paved throughout.

        You're no fun

        I love it when I am going 13.4 mph and the deck disappears due to a rastering effect.

        Although the fly over view of the Charles ain't nowhere near as impressive as the University Avenue bridge in Lowell used to be when I got up to deck vanishing speed for the full length.

        When I worked in Charlestown, my boss wouldn't even walk over the North Washington ... The grating seriously freaked him out!

        Not the most dangerous bridge for cyclists

        That honor has to go to the Meridian Street drawbridge between Chelsea and East Boston. Watch out that your tires don't drop into the gaping expansion joints or into the space where the two lift spans meet. I would never want to ride there during or after rain.

        Fat bike. Smooth tires.

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        Fat bike. Smooth tires.

        Or walking the bike works too.

        I hate riding fixed gear on those wet metal grate bridge decks, you can't coast and use your legs as suspension as well.
        But what the hell, you can't let a little thing like old infrastructure stop your crossing when a convenient route is at stake..

        Time to close it to vehicular traffic

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        Or, at least, do what they did with the Harvard Bridge at MIT: close it to trucks, allow one lane each way of car traffic. Put up bollards in the empty lane for cyclists and the overflow of pedestrians.

        It is already redundant with the Zakim.

        it's not redundant to the

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        it's not redundant to the residents of Somerville, Medford, Everett, and Chelsea that may not want to get on 93 or Storrow to get into the North End/Gov't Center area. I avoid the Zakim at all costs as I'll never understand how people don't know what lane to be in--messes up traffic both directions

        Do you own a map?

        You should be able to easily find the Prison Point Bridge by the Museum of Science, as well as how you can easily get directly into the North End from I-93.

        How you find taking North Washington St. to be EASIER than the Zakim escapes me - I use the Zakim in a car, but frequently bike this bridge and I would NEVER consider it easier to take that route in a car.


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        It depends upon where you're going and what you need to do. If I need to be up near the power plant (near the newly burgeoning Wynn Casino) on 99 and then over to Logan, I'll stay on 99, go across the Washington St Bridge and head through the Callahan. I find that bridge extremely easy to use and depending upon what I want to do better than the Zakim.

        The Zakim is not the end-all, be-all. And yes, I've lived here for my entire life except for my college years, so I'm fine with and without maps, thankyouverymuch.

        If you're coming from East

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        If you're coming from East Somerville, going down Rutherford Ave is always going to be faster and easier than cutting over to 28 on Washington St. And 93 isn't an option since there are no onramps south of Assembly.

        And if you're going to the North End.... good luck trying to get there from the Charles River Dam Bridge on 28 in anything resembling a timely fashion. From 93 is doable, but it can be kind of a slog waiting at all the lights on the Greenway to circle back around to the North End from the Gov't Center offramp.

        Rutherford Ave is definitely overbuilt for today, but the bridge is definitely not redundant. It's still necessary.

        Cyclists Guide To The N. Washington St. Bridge

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        1. Don't use the roadway!
        a. No lane markings
        b. Too tight with bridge & pylons
        c. The metal gridwork can shred a cheap tire.

        2. Southbound -
        a. Sidewalk on the Zakim side (Easy does it! Coast near any peds!)
        b. Jump the curb at Causeway. Currently no ADA ramps.
        c. Beware Causeway construction. ADA coming soon.

        3. Northbound -
        a. 8:00am - 8:00pm = use the Zakim side sidewalk. (Fewer peds)
        b. Weekdays 8:00pm+ = Use the harborside sidewalk. (Few peds)
        c. Hop the mountainous curb near the Freedom Trail crosswalk.

        4. Enjoy the views. Awesome vistas in all directions.

        Bike it daily

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        I bike this daily to get to work...I ALWAYS use the pedestrian sidewalk and just go slow/respect people walking in larger groups and will stay behind them if there's no room to get by. Anytime I see someone clueless biking across the bridge in the road on a hubway I think "they are suicidal"

        The southbound (Zakim) side

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        The southbound (Zakim) side has had ramps at Causeway for a while now. Like 10+ years. The current project is replacing them with better newer ones, but there were ramps there before.

        You don't need to hop any curbs anywhere, though I often do southbound to rejoin traffic before Causeway.

        I bike over this bridge on my way to work (usually, haven't been so much lately), and here's my usual MO:
        Southbound: sidewalk
        Northbound: sidewalk during the off season, road during the peak season. Almost guaranteed someone will honk at me and then roar past barely missing my shoulder, but at least it doesn't take 10 minutes to wind my way through all the tourists gawking at the views.