Disrepair Causes City to Close Northern Avenue Bridge

The Northern Avenue Bridge in Boston has been closed by the city following unsatisfactory safety reports.
The Northern Avenue Bridge in Boston has been closed by the city following unsatisfactory safety reports.

The city closed the Northern Avenue Bridge on Wednesday after city consultants deemed its floor beams unsafe, The Boston Globe reports.

The bridge, a 640-foot steel, swing-action structure built in 1908, spans the Fort Point channel. Since its designation as a pedestrian- and bicycle-only bridge in 1997, it has connected Boston’s seafood lovers to restaurants like The Barking Crab and James Hook & Company.

But this isn’t the first time the future of the bridge has been uncertain.

Over the years, city officials have voiced concerns over the practicality of pouring money into badly-needed renovations. In 1998, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, late Mayor Thomas Menino, and late U.S. Representative J. Joseph Moakley voiced opposition to costly refurbishment of the deteriorating bridge.

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Since then, some have changed their positions. Menino proposed rebuilding efforts in 2008, and earlier this year the Boston Redevelopment Authority made optimistic statements about revitalizing the bridge.

According to The Boston Globe:

The city is currently “evaluating its options’’ and working with the Boston Preservation Alliance to balance preservation interests with the need for public safety, [Bonnie McGilpin, spokesperson for the mayor’s office,] said.

Pedestrians and bicyclists are advised to use one of three other bridges over the Fort Point Channel — the Evelyn Moakley Bridge, the Congress Street Bridge, and the Summer Street Bridge — while the Old Northern Avenue Bridge is closed.

To read more about the closing of the bridge, read the full report here.

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