The northbound lane of Washington Avenue has been completed preliminarily by contractors working on the 18-month Bridge replacement project near City Hall.
A few weeks ago, a temporary lane was available, though vehicles were not allowed to pass though, after the Bridge had been closed to all traffic since May 26.
State officials are still pondering what to do when the northbound lane opens and whether or not to let all traffic going north pass through the crude lane opening.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he would prefer that the lane, when it does open, be restricted for the time being to emergency vehicles.
“On the Washington Ave bridge, we have requested that, when it opens, the northbound lane be open solely to emergency vehicles,” he said on Monday. “MassDOT is considering that idea, but, they are still not yet ready for any opening at all as of today. It appears the earliest time will be next week.”
The opening for emergency vehicles is especially important for the Fire Department, as it will ease the problems with getting to the northern parts of the city from the Central Fire Station.
However, it will also likely mean an end to the state funding for the fourth Fire Engine company based out of the Central Fire Station that has been in operation since the closing of the Bridge.
Fire officials have hoped that having the fourth engine on would encourage City officials t
o move to make the change permanent, something Fire officials have called for many times but City officials have not agreed to fund.
A showdown on that topic is likely to come up once the Bridge opens in the next few weeks, and especially when a new Fire Chief is appointed in March 2016.
The overall Bridge project is expected to be completed in the Fall of 2016 – though the contractor has lucrative incentives in the contract if the project finishes early.