Central Street Bridge over Pawtucket Canal is currently under construction and began surface construction the week of February 1, 2021, as part of the Lowell Canal Bridges (TIGER) Program. Central Street Bridge construction has been accelerated to help address a degraded inspection rating and to leverage the decrease in traffic due to the pandemic. Learn about the detours and traffic shifts that will occur in the downtown area and how to navigate through the construction.
The Central Street Bridge over the Pawtucket Canal is currently reduced to one-way, northbound traffic to enable the acceleration of construction. The bridge will remain closed to southbound traffic until the end of 2022.
Pedestrian traffic will be maintained across the bridge at all times. All work is weather dependent and subject to change without notice. Appropriate signage, law enforcement details, and advanced
message boards will be in place to guide drivers through the work area. Drivers who are traveling through the area should reduce speed and use caution.
The implementation timeline is as follows:
In February 2021, traffic was reduced to one-way in a northbound direction and southbound traffic has been detoured and coordinated appropriately with emergency services. Upon beginning the construction and removing the decking material, additional deterioration of the bridge members was discovered. The original contracted construction included partial beam replacement which provided an extended bridge life of 10 to 20 years. Given the additional deterioration that was discovered, full beam replacement has been recommended. Full beam replacement will provide an extended bridge life of approximately 40 to 50 years. The City, MassDOT, the contractor, have completed a revised bridge design and ordered the steel for the full beam replacement.
Bridge utility and demolition work has resumed and will continue until steep placement in early August. The canal drawdown is set to begin on July 18. Phase 1 in its current configuration will continue into fall/winter 2022. It is anticipated that two-way traffic will resume when Phase 2 is underway at the end of 2022. Overall bridge construction completion is anticipated to be completed in summer/fall 2023.
Below is the detour plan for southbound traffic:
The City held a virtual public meeting to provide more information, you can watch the recorded presentation below: