As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's Massachusetts Works program to promote job growth and long-term economic recovery, Governor Deval Patrick today announced that the reconstruction of the historic Longfellow Bridge is moving forward, a signature project funded by Governor Patrick's eight-year, $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program to repair structurally deficient and obsolete bridges across the Commonwealth.
The estimated $260 million investment in rebuilding the Longfellow Bridge begins this year with a $20 million early action contract to include preparatory work, with the full reconstruction expected to begin in fall 2011. The Longfellow project is the largest of several investments totaling more than $300 million in rebuilding the bridges along the Charles River Basin, including the BU Bridge, Craigie Drawbridge, and the Western Avenue, River Street, and Anderson Memorial Bridges.
"There may be no greater symbol of the neglect our roads and bridges suffered under previous administrations than the Longfellow Bridge," said Governor Patrick. "I am proud to say that today we are ready to reverse the disrepair and will be restoring this beautiful structure to its former glory."
"The Longfellow Bridge is an urban jewel, and truly a landmark for the Charles River skyline," said Congressman Mike Capuano, who has obtained federal funding for the Longfellow Bridge reconstruction. "It is such an important transportation link for automobiles, pedestrians and the MBTA and reconstruction is overdue. I thank Governor Patrick for including the Longfellow Bridge in the state's important Accelerated Bridge Program and for making this project a priority."
"The Longfellow Bridge is truly recognized the world over, and its renewal will represent the very essence of Governor Patrick's Accelerated Bridge Program and his commitment to putting people to work fixing roads and bridges across the Commonwealth," said Transportation Secretary Jeff Mullan.
The initial work beginning this month on the Longfellow Bridge includes accessibility upgrades to sidewalks, which will provide pedestrian access for the first time since the 1950's, along with steel arch cleaning and priming, masonry cleaning and repairs, pump station upgrades, and temporary utility relocation. This work also provides important information about the bridge that will assist in completing the final rehabilitation project, expected to begin in fall 2011.
MassDOT has convened a task force of stakeholders to develop a consensus around the final design of the roadway that will best accommodates all users, including pedestrian and bicycle access.
"The DOT is working hard to listen to all users of this bridge. This work phase is a very good first step and I'm hopeful that we will get to a long term solution that accommodates cars, cyclists and pedestrians," said Representative William Brownsberger.
"The Longfellow Bridge is an iconic structure, desperately in need of rehabilitation. I eagerly await the early action phase of the contract that will make the Longfellow Bridge safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and I look forward to a fully restored 21st Century bridge which pedestrians, cyclists, T riders, and motorists will all be able to safely share and enjoy," said Representative Marty Walz.
"I am delighted that the Governor is moving forward with the Longfellow reconstruction -- it is so needed. I know that I can count on him and his administration to work with the communities around the bridge and with advocates to make this redesign as pedestrian and bike friendly as possible," said Representative Alice K. Wolf.
"This is wonderful news for both Boston and Cambridge, and I want to thank Governor Patrick for his tireless efforts in repairing the state's bridges that are an integral part of our infrastructure. The reconstruction of the Longfellow Bridge will not only preserve a historic landmark but also secures safe passageway for the thousands of commuters that use it each day as a vital part of our state's economic engine to get to and from work," said Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
Other key projects to be completed in the Charles River Basin as part of the Accelerated Bridge Program now under construction include the Craigie Drawbridge and BU Bridge. The Western Avenue, River Street, and Anderson Memorial bridges are under design with project completions scheduled for 2014. MassDOT is working closely with surrounding communities to ensure preservation of the historic character of all Basin bridges.
MassDOT is preparing all of these projects with a community process focused on enhanced pedestrian and bike connections, along with careful work sequencing to reduce traffic impacts.
Since the Governor's filing of legislation to create the Accelerated Bridge Program in May 2008, the number of structurally deficient bridges has dropped from 543 to 494, a decline of more than 9% for the universe of bridges eligible for the program.
These reductions are the result of funding allocated through the ABP, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and Statewide Road and Bridge Program, investments that are bringing an end to decades of neglect for the Commonwealth's bridges. Together, the Commonwealth's investment in roads and bridges has grown from $515 million in FY2007 to a projected $1.085 billion in FY2010.
This construction program will support more than 10,000 jobs on 385 separate projects across the Commonwealth.
As a result of the ABP alone, 13 bridge projects are already complete, with a total of 62 bridge projects scheduled for construction this construction season. Over the course of the program, at least 200 bridges will see active construction. In addition to markedly improving the condition of infrastructure across Massachusetts, these bridge projects are creating well-paying construction jobs today and the foundation for long-term economic growth.
For transportation news and updates visit the MassDOT website at www.mass.gov/massdot, the MassDOT blog at www.mass.gov/blog/transportation or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.