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North Washington Street Bridge repairs in Boston to last five years

Charlestown-North End span in need of replacement; region’s longest-lasting bridge job since Longfellow

Boston Globe via Getty Images

Work on rebuilding the North Washington Street Bridge between Charlestown and the North End will start later this year, with actual construction getting underway in the spring of 2019.

And—unlike the recently wrapped Commonwealth Avenue Bridge project farther west in Boston, which took six weeks to wrap—this bridgework is expected to take five years. In that, it will be similar to the Longfellow Bridge project between Cambridge and Boston that wrapped in May after a similar duration.

Simply put, the North Washington Street job is too expensive—approximately $200 million—and too complicated—it includes drilling deeply in Charles River bedrock—to do as quickly as the Commonwealth Avenue one.

What does this mean in practical terms, particularly for motorists going between the North End and Charlestown? Per the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro: “Overall, the bridge will be demolished and replaced in halves, with traffic sliding to the inbound lanes while the outbound side is replaced, and vise versa.”

That will mean that at times only one lane will be open each way (though, more often than not, three lanes will be open on the half of the bridge not under construction at the time). Such closures are expected to ripple into downtown Boston as far as I-93. Stay tuned.