City of Boston

North Washington Street Bridge

Boston, MA

Boston’s North Washington Street Bridge carries the historic Freedom Trail over the Charles River. This provides a critical link between Downtown Boston and Charlestown. Originally constructed in 1898, the structure was approaching the end of its useful life. Benesch designed a signature replacement bridge, incorporating “Complete Streets” design elements to support vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

The existing structure consisted of a 240-foot swing span flanked by five, 85-foot-long approach spans on each side. Overall, the bridge is 1090 feet in length and 100 feet wide, carrying numerous utilities and approximately 66,000 vehicles per day.

The high-profile replacement project features two lanes of traffic in each direction, dedicated bike lanes and 12-foot wide sidewalks. Observational sidewalk buildouts, Boston’s historic Freedom Trail, curbside plantings and other architectural appurtenances will serve to complement and further enhance the significance of the bridge’s natural and built surroundings.

Recently, the vehicular and pedestrian traffic as well as the utilities have been relocated onto a temporary bridge. This allowed for the demolition of the existing bridge and the ongoing installation of the foundations for the new bridge. Bridge construction is expected to wrap-up in the spring of 2023.

Project highlights

  • Replacement of historic bridge
  • Incorporates “Complete Streets” design elements
  • Traffic management design to provide 5 stages of construction to allow vehicular traffic over the bridge during construction