BOSTON (CBS) – There’s a new plan to clean up and re-design the iconic Longfellow Bridge.

The so-called “salt and pepper” bridge, which spans the Charles River between Boston and Cambridge, will get a $270 million makeover.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields reports

The big change – outbound traffic to Cambridge will be narrowed down to one lane. The two inbound lanes to Boston will remain.

“There’s clear evidence that one lane coming out of Charles Street Circle going into Cambridge will easily accommodate existing traffic and future traffic growth.  Coming inbound from Cambridge to Boston, it was clear that two lanes was needed,” Richard Dimino, a member of a special task force overseeing the project, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Wednesday.

Sidewalks and bike lanes will also be wider.

“The bridge is going to be providing some new accommodations for bicyclists, pedestrians (and) new accessibility for folks that are physically challenged down at the Boston end of the bridge,” Dimino said.

“The bridge will also have a new pedestrian bridge that will cross over Storrow Drive and connect to the Charles River.”

The salt and pepper shaker towers will come down temporarily but they’ll be restored as repairs are done.

A hearing on the plan will be held March 1 at the state transportation building.

Officials hope to send the project to bid within 6 months.

So how will this affect commuters during construction, which is expected to start in the spring of 2013?

“There will be one lane inbound coming into Boston, but the traffic going into Cambridge will have to be diverted for a good portion of the time,” Dimino said.

“Mass Highway group has found a way working with the MBTA to keep Red Line service operating during the weekdays, which is very important because the Red Line service carries so many people. So folks that are counting on the Red Line day in and day out to get to their jobs will be able to continue to use it.”

Comments (3)
  1. msw says:

    This will be a nightmare for a long time for those of us that commute to/from Cambridge by car everyday for work that’s for sure. i guess the upside is that it’ll create jobs.

  2. LA Clayton says:

    Narrow bike lanes don’t share. For $300 million, take $30 million to build dual bike only new bridges, on each side of the existing bridge. Bike lanes must share: w/ other wheelchairs; w/ greener vehicles; w/ skinny vehicles; w/ slower vehicles. These new bike only bridges won’t have to share with pedestrians. Don’t make traffic worse, again. Streets must be drive able, not liveable. Make the Longfellow Bike Bridges toll ways, and prohibit bikes on real traffic lanes. LA Clayton, member Institute Transportation Engineers, bike – ped committee. 617.939.4200

  3. G. Sabian says:

    I’m concerned with the amount of room on the sidewalks for wheelchairs. It would be easier and safer to take $43.8 million out of the budget for 2 four-lane wheelchair bridges. You’ll have 2 lanes in each direction on each bridge: a travel lane, and a passing lane for people with faster wheelchairs. A wheelchair rotary on the Boston end would tie the bridges into the existing infrastructure nicely: Charles/MGH red line stop, Cambridge St., Pleasure St. and access to Storrow Dr. There is also still enough room for direct wheelchair high speed access ramps on Storrow Dr. from the direction of the Esplanade, should that option be acted upon in the future.

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