MassDOT breaks ground on Longfellow Bridge rehabilitation project

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) held a groundbreaking ceremony at Lederman Park on the Charles River Reservation on Wednesday for its approximately $255 million restoration of the Longfellow Bridge.

Northbound vehicles are now being redirected from Charles Circle to Leverett Circle before traveling on Monsignor O’Brien Highway to Land Boulevard in Cambridge. The detour is scheduled to continue through September of 2014.

During the first stage of construction, the bridge will also accommodate only one traffic-lane from Cambridge to Boston, as well as bicycles and emergency vehicles.

Last week also saw MBTA Red Line service across the bridge suspended for the first of 25 weekends, with inbound and outbound shuttles-buses replacing trains.

The project’s scope includes a reduction in outbound vehicular traffic lanes on the bridge from two to one to better accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians, the replacement of a pedestrian crossing between Charles Circle and the Charles River Esplanade and improvements to Red Line tracks, among other modifications to bring the 107-year-old structure up to modern code, according to MassDOT.

The project is slated to take 3 ½ years to complete, officials said.

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