MassDOT officials said tonight workers are busy fixing defective welds on the new North Washington Street Bridge and that they should be done by the end of December, letting non-repair construction resume in January - with a goal of switching three vehicle lanes and sidewalks over from the current temporary bridge in December, 2023.
However, the new bridge won't be fully open until December, 2024, MassDOT officials said at a meeting of the North End/Waterfront Residents Association.
As somebody who has been following the project for awhile explains:
Once the Eastern (harbor) half of the new bridge is complete (December 2023, currently), they’ll shift all of the traffic to that new half (cars, bikes, pedestrians).
They’ll then demolish the temp bridge, and finish construction of the Western (river) side. When that’s done (December 2024, currently), we’ll have two lanes in each direction, plus an inbound bus lane, as well as bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides.
The new, futuristic looking bridge is supposed to provide access between the North End and Charlestown not just to vehicles but to bicyclists and pedestrians - many of them tourists following the Freedom Trail to and from the USS Constitution.
MassDOT officials said work on the new bridge came to a stop after inspectors cracked welds in September, 2021. Ultimately, 52 welds with "toe cracking" were found, both on steel already installed in the new bridge and at a factory, and another 140 spots on the bridge where the welds could similarly fail were identified.
After a year of weld inspections and tests to determine a fix, work began last week to fix the problem, MassDOT said, which will let workers begin new construction, rather than repairs, in January.
MassDOT has two online meetings scheduled for next week to discuss the latest status of the bridge.
MassDOT update on the bridge (5.5M PDF).