Historic Northern Avenue Bridge Coming Down
The decrepit but historic Northern Avenue Bridge that crosses the Fort Point Channel is coming down.
The Boston Globe reported on Friday that demolition of the steel swing bridge is set to begin in March, a move that was possibly spurred by the city and state’s pitch to bring General Electric to the Seaport. The city estimates it will have to spend around $100 million to replace the bridge.
The bridge has steadily deteriorated since 1997 when it was closed to vehicular traffic. In 2014, the bridge was closed to pedestrians for good. The Coast Guard has expressed grave concern about the potential for the structure to collapse into the channel for the last 20 years.
It’s unlikely a new bridge that serves cars will ease traffic problems in the booming neighborhood, as it is already serviced by three nearby bridges. Providing more access for cars to the Seaport will only exacerbate existing congestion in the still-growing neighborhood.
The bridge has been out of service since before the elimination of the Central Artery, creating potential new traffic nightmares in the neighborhood. For example, the likely location of a new Northern Avenue Bridge does not provide easy on/off access to 93, while the existing Seaport Boulevard Bridge does. A driver would have to either circle around to access 93 or drive several blocks to the North End for on-ramp access.
The short spur of Northern Avenue in downtown where the bridge empties out is also awkwardly sandwiched between a Coast Guard building and the current site of the James Hook and Company lobster shack. In 2014, the iconic seafood establishment announced it wants to redevelop its property into a 22-story residential tower as part of a project that would keep the restaurant onsite but in a new, modern waterfront facility.