Lord Overpass/Gateway to Lowell
The Lord Overpass was originally constructed in 1959 and is now City owned. The overpass is a grade separated diamond interchange between Thorndike Street, Middlesex Street and Appleton Street/Chelmsford Street. The Lord Overpass today is functionally and structurally deficient.
The Lord Overpass is comprised of a rotary with four closely spaced, signalized intersections. Sidewalks are provided on both sides of the roadways forming the square, with raised traffic islands provided at two of the four intersections. There is no access to the Hamilton Canal Innovation District (HCID) redevelopment and new Justice Center with the current configuration.
As part of the MEPA permit and other improvements necessary for the HCID development and the Justice Center, a new intersection is necessary to connect Jackson Street extension to Fletcher Street and Thorndike/Dutton Streets. This new intersection can not be created with the Overpass ramps in their current configuration. The new intersection would be the 'front-door' to the HCID and Judicial Center. Thousands of people on a daily basis would use this new intersection to access the new commercial, retail, residential, and social-services available in the HCID.
In order to maintain traffic during construction, the project designer has developed a five stage plan. Once the contract is awarded, the contractor will provide a schedule and may make adjustments to the phased traffic management plan below.
Stage 5 (Current Stage)
At this point of the project, the two existing bridges have been decommissioned and all surfaces have been constructed to final alignment. Paving was completed the week of 11/22/21 and Middlesex Street has been opened to thru traffic and moving into Phase 4 of the project. This new phase, attached to this memorandum for reference, will provide improved traffic flow through the area. The primary construction focus for Phase 4 will be the bridge modifications to the Dutton/Thorndike Bridge over the Pawtucket Canal. In spring 2022, work will begin on the final streetscape, bus lanes, biobasins, etc. Phase 5 will include the bus lane construction. Construction is scheduled to be substantially complete in August 2023.
In order to build this new intersection of Jackson Street extension and to improve the surrounding roadways and traffic signals, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts gave the City of Lowell a $15 Million transportation grant. View the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Letter (PDF) regarding the project.
The City of Lowell, through its Department of Planning and Development (DPD) undertook a design process which included extensive public participation in order to meet the project goals of improving public safety and mitigating the traffic to the HCID.
Comments regarding traffic or construction issues can be sent to the Lord Overpass email.