TIGER: Central Street Bridge over Pawtucket Canal

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 for an anticipated duration of ten months


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. There is a 10 month lead time on the procurement of the steel and steel is anticipated to arrive onsite in May/June 2022. Bridge utility and demolition work will resume in spring 2022. Phase 1 in its current configuration will continue into fall/water 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:

Central St Bridge Detours
The City held a virtual public meeting to provide more information, you can watch the recorded presentation below:

PDF Version of Presentation


More information regarding the TIGER Central Street Bridge over the Pawtucket Canal 

accelerated construction can be found in the following documents:


Press Release

Informational Memo

MassDOT Advisory


To sign up for construction updates, email the Tiger Project Email.

For more information on traffic conditions, travelers are encouraged to:


  • Dial 511 and select a route to hear real-time conditions.
  • Visit the MASS 511 website for real-time traffic and incident advisory information, and subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions.