Beginning on Wednesday June 1 at 12:00 a.m. and continuing through Thursday, December 1 the Chelsea Street bridge that connects Chelsea to East Boston will be closed to allow work crews to demolish the existing bridge and construct the remaining portions of the new lift structure and any associated navigation work.
“At the completion of the six-month closure period, the remaining roadway work will be undertaken along with additional work within the channel,” said the project’s consultant John Vitagliano. “These latter activities will require future, periodic nightly and weekend bridge closures.”
The navigable Chelsea Creek beneath the bridge will remain open throughout the six-month closure period, except during those periods approved by the Coast Guard. Channel closures will be coordinated through the Coast Guard and broadcast to mariners on Coast Guard Notices.
Vehicular traffic will be detoured as follows:
All northbound vehicles destined to Chelsea will be directed east on Curtis Street; turn right onto ramp from Route 1A (McClellan Highway) south towards East Boston/Winthrop; turn left under the Route 1A viaduct; turn left onto Chaucer Street; bear left onto ramp to Route 1A north; bear right and enter Mahoney Circle/Bell Circle; stay to the right around circle and take fourth exit to Route 1A south; bear right onto Route 16 west; turn right onto ramp to Route 107 (Broadway) south; turn slight left onto Eastern Avenue; follow to end.
Southbound cars and light trucks destined to East Boston will be directed north on Eastern Avenue; turn slight right onto Broadway; turn right onto ramp to Route 16 (Revere Beach Parkway) east; turn right onto Route 145 (Revere Beach Parkway) east; turn right onto ramp to Route 1A (McClellan Highway) south; turn right onto Curtis Street; follow to end.
Southbound heavy trucks destined to East Boston will be directed north on Eastern Avenue; turn slight right onto Broadway; turn right onto ramp to Route 16 (Revere Beach Parkway) east; keep left and enter Mahoney Circle/Bell Circle; stay to the right around circle and take fourth exit to Route 1A south; turn right onto Curtis Street; follow to end.
“MassDOT encourages drivers to reduce speed and use caution when traveling near the work,” said Vitagliano.
The 73-year-old structurally-deficient Chelsea Street Bridge will be replaced with a new state-of-the-art drawbridge. A few years ago, U.S. Congressman Michael Capuano was able to secure funding for the project in the federal transportation bond bill. The federal government granted the state the authority to spend $437.9 million on transportation projects through federal highway funds, with $153.2 million of that funding committed to “shovel-ready” projects.
Two years ago the Patrick Administration put the first eight recovery projects out to bid, dedicating an estimated total of approximately $30 million for infrastructure improvements in every region of the state. The Chelsea Street Bridge was one of these projects.
The Chelsea Street Bridge project involves the replacement with a truss-type structure that spans 450 feet and will provide 175 feet of vertical clearance when raised. The new bridge and approach roadway match the footprint of the existing bridge and will provide for four lanes of traffic (two in each direction) and two pedestrian sidewalks. Approach roadways will be reconstructed to meet existing local streets and a complete warning signal and gate system is included in the project.
The project will address long-standing issues caused by the narrow passageway used by oil tankers that resulted in accidents. Since 1972, there have been 133 incidents in which ships, tugs or barges have struck the bridge. The new bridge has an environmental as well as a safety component, as the reduced potential for collisions will diminish the threat of oil spills. In June 2000, a tanker collision spilled 50,000 gallons of fuel oil, closing the waterway and delaying aviation fuel deliveries for three days. The warning gate and bridge traffic signal operations will be coordinated with the Central Avenue/Marginal Street/Eastern Avenue intersection in Chelsea to control traffic flow during bridge openings.
The $125 million project is expected to be completed by spring 2012.