The Chelsea Street Bridge has become the bane of existence for more than a few residents that need to cross between Eastie and Chelsea – as when it goes up, one can only settle in and wait it out.
Residents, businesses, City Manager Tom Ambrosino and even Massport have all complained about the Bridge raising during heavy traffic times like the morning rush hour, or at the shift changes in Logan Airport – preventing employees from getting from the Chelsea parking garage to the airport. Now, at the least, drivers will have advanced notice of the inconvenience through new warning signs that use real-time technology to inform drivers that the Bridge is going up.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced it has activated a new notification system that uses real-time technology to trigger messaging on numerous road signs to inform drivers of the raising and lowering of the Chelsea Street Bridge which carries traffic between East Boston and Chelsea.
“Through our collaborative efforts with local municipal officials and members of the public, we have developed an early warning system that alerts drivers in real-time when the Chelsea Street bridge is being raised or lowered,” said Acting Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “This notification system is an important resource for members of the public and helps ensure drivers are able to make informed decisions and take the most appropriate routes when traveling to the places they need to get to throughout these local communities.”
Using Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technology, an opening of the Chelsea Street Bridge will now activate eight roadway signs in the area that will read “Chelsea Street Bridge Closed Ahead.” These eight signs are strategically located at points throughout Chelsea, East Boston and Revere in order to provide drivers with an appropriate amount of time to make informed decisions and seek alternate routes if necessary.
“The Chelsea Street Bridge is an important and heavily used link between the East Boston neighborhood and the City of Chelsea,” said Boston Transportation Department Commissioner Gina N. Fiandaca. “By notifying drivers when the bridge will be closed to traffic, this innovative new system will encourage drivers to seek alternate routes. As a result, the frequency of motor vehicles backing up on local streets while waiting for the bridge to re-open is expected to be reduced, and air quality will improve due to the decrease in emissions from idling vehicles.”
“The City of Chelsea is very grateful to MassDOT for listening and responding to the City’s concerns about the negative impact upon local traffic, and Chelsea residents, whenever the Chelsea Bridge is closed,” said Chelsea City Manager Thomas G. Ambrosino. “We are hopeful that this new early warning system will help to minimize gridlock and aggravation. It will certainly give motorists the opportunity to avoid roadways heading toward the bridge before they become clogged with traffic and the opportunity for detour is foreclosed.”
The total cost for developing and installing the new notification system for the Chelsea Street Bridge was approximately $234,000. The bridge handles a daily volume of approximately 37,000 vehicles and is raised an average of five times per day to allow for the passage of incoming vessels.
The Chelsea Street Bridge was constructed in 2012 and carries traffic on Chelsea Street over the Chelsea Creek. The bridge is approximately 450 feet in length and when raised has a vertical clearance of approximately 175 feet.