Massachusetts DOT Planning the Eventual Replacement of Tobin Bridge

Sept. 21, 2023
Board approved a $109 million contract for repairs and maintenance to the structure.

Officials from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) are eyeing the eventual replacement of the Tobin Bridge, according to acting Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt in a recent meeting with state officials.

Tibbits-Nutt said a request for proposals to replace the highly traveled route could be released as soon as Friday seeking a transportation planning and engineering consultant that would work on a study examining options for the replacement of the bridge.

Tibbits-Nutt suggested that the changes will not be imminent, saying the study alone could take two years. On the same day Tibbits-Nutt outlined initial steps toward replacement of the bridge, the MassDOT board approved a $109 million contract for repairs and maintenance to the structure.

"Repairs are not a permanent solution," Tibbits-Nutt said in the meeting. "That's why we are releasing the RFP for our planning and engineering team to do a study, which is intended to help us think and gather perspective on the bridge's future while it is still in good working order."

The two mile bridge Tobin Bridge carries Route 1 over the Mystic River between Charlestown and Chelsea and originally opened to motorists in 1950. The bridge supports over 87,000 trips on a typical weekday and is one of the most notoriously congested in the state. 

It's also the route taken by the MBTA's Route 111 bus, one of the primary modes of public transit connecting Chelsea and Revere to Boston.

Tibbits-Nutt said the Tobin plays a major role in providing "connectivity to the regional transportation network."

"The time is now. I think anyone that's been on the Tobin Bridge -- we need to be taking the steps needed with the planning and engineering decisions to replace the Tobin Bridge with a similar, but also alternative, infrastructure," she said.

Tibbits-Nutt said the envisioned study would feature a "robust public engagement process," including a working group that would invite participation by the cities of Boston and Chelsea, the Massachusetts Port Authority, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Analysts would also complete an environmental review to explore potential air quality, greenhouse gas, waterways, environmental justice and ecosystem impacts from a Tobin Bridge replacement.

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Source: WCVB News