Curb cuts, median removals, and traffic mitigation have already begun on the Longfellow Bridge rehabilitation project. The project is extremely complex, involving the reconstruction of a century-old bridge and the brick-by-brick refurbishing of its iconic salt-and-pepper-shaker stone towers. Over the next three years, construction on the Longfellow is going to have a major effect on how all of us get around town. With that in mind, I’ll do my best to keep you up to date through this blog, and to answer some common questions.
Last night, MassDOT held a public meeting regarding the project in general and traffic detours specifically. You can see the presentation from last night’s meeting here. As you might expect, there’s a lot of information in that presentation, so I’ll try to highlight the key points:
- Red Line train service will be replaced by buses running from Kendall to MGH and Park St. on five weekends in 2013: August 10-11, August 24-25, October 19-20, October 26-27, and November 2-3. During these weekends, the Longfellow’s cycle lanes will be closed to accommodate two-way bus traffic, and traffic patterns around the bridge will change significantly. To receive real-time updates and alerts about Red Line service by phone or email, sign up for the MBTA’s Rider Alerts. There are a total of 25 planned “weekend diversions” over the project’s three-year lifespan.
- The project includes several features to make the Boston and Cambridge sides of the bridge more pedestrian-friendly, including a new footbridge connecting the Longfellow to the paths on Memorial Drive.
- The first phase of construction requires closing the western lanes of the bridge. Boston-to Cambridge traffic will be detoured until September of next year. You can find a full-color map of the detour on page 18 of MassDOT’s presentation.
- Striping of new lanes on the Craigie Bridge/Charles River Dam Rd. begins this Saturday.
- MassDOT and the project’s contractors will be intensely monitoring data from the first two weeks under the new traffic patterns, and will make adjustments as appropriate.
MassDOT is operating a dedicated hotline for comments and concerns related to the Longfellow project, and they intend to answer every call within two hours. You can reach MassDOT’s hotline at (617)-519-9892, or just send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. MassDOT’s Stephanie Boundy is also keeping neighbors up-to-speed with regular email blasts. Over 700 people receive these helpful email alerts now, and you can sign up by contacting Stephanie at (857)-368-8904 or email@example.com.