Bridge work to disrupt Cambridge connections
Critical transportation links between Cambridge and Boston are getting ready for some extreme makeovers.
While improvements to the dilapidated bridges are necessary as part of the state’s Accelerated Bridge Program, officials said cyclists, pedestrians and even motorists should expect traffic snarls and service interruptions during construction.
The Larz Anderson Memorial Bridge, which connects Allston to the Harvard area, is the first scheduled project with work starting in the spring.
The $19 million project, however, will require workers to shut down sidewalks on one-side and funnel cars into a single lane in each direction.
“There will be some congestion,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola.
Currently, bikers try and share space on the sidewalk with pedestrians, or squeeze in between cars on the road.
When the project is finished, the bridge will have dedicated bikes lanes.
“It will make it easier to get the bikes off the sidewalk,” said DePaola.
Sarah Paltrineri, 20, who uses the Anderson Bridge twice a day, is looking forward to the improvements, but not the construction.
“It’s already damn hard to bike across … parts of it are really dangerous,” she said, noting how she almost gets “clipped” by cars regularly.
Paltrineri said traffic along the bridge is bad enough now, and during the restoration period “it’ll jam things up.”
Within the year, work will begin on the Longfellow Bridge, which connects the city to Cambridge.
The $300 million project will include wider bike lanes and sidewalks in each direction and eliminate a lane of traffic heading into Cambridge.
During construction, the bridge will be closed to Cambridge-bound traffic and it could take up to three years before the work on the 105-year-old bridge are completed.
Bridging the gap
The Anderson Bridge project will limit boat passageways to two tunnels.
Weekday and weekend work will be conducted except during major events like the Head of the Charles.
Besides the Longfellow, the state is looking to do work on the River Street and Western Avenue bridges.
It will take two seasons to complete the Anderson Bridge work.
As of January 2012, the Accelerated Bridge Program has completed 77 bridge projects, with another 67 bridge projects currently in construction.
Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear