Boston University Bridge

The Boston University Bridge (originally the Cottage Farm Bridge), and commonly referred to as the BU Bridge, is a steel truss bridge with a suspended deck carrying Route 2 over the Charles River, connecting Boston to Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials route log, the bridge also carries U.S. Route 3 across the river to its southern terminus at U.S. Route 20 (also known as Commonwealth Avenue). However, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation does not consider the bridge to be a part of US-3; it continues the route along Memorial Drive in Cambridge until it meets Route 2A at the end of the Harvard Bridge.

It was renamed for Boston University, which lies at the south end of the bridge, in 1949.

Construction

It was built in 1928, on a design by Andrew Canzanelli, replacing an 1850s drawbridge known as the Brookline Bridge. Canzanelli also designed the Weeks footbridge and the first shell constructed on the Esplanade.

The bridge crosses diagonally over an older bridge carrying the CSX Transportation Grand Junction Line.

During the period of planning for the Inner Belt, the BU Bridge represented the planned crossing point of the highway from Boston to Cambridge. Several plans were discussed for the area; had the road been built over the river, the bridge would have been demolished and replaced with a high-level highway overpass, while if the road had been built as a tunnel, the bridge would have been left standing as a crossing for surface route traffic.

Rehabilitation

As of 2008, the bridge deck, including the sidewalks and vehicular surface, were in severe disrepair; the water below was visible through holes in the deck, and the iron stairs leading from Storrow Drive were rusted through. These deficiencies triggered the bridge to be categorized as "structurally deficient" under the federal NBIS standards. Nevertheless, the main structural elements of the bridge have been determined to be sound.

The approximately twenty million dollar rehabilitation project has been among the first undertaken in the Commonwealth's Accelerated Bridge Program by the bridge owner, the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

As of June 2008, one traffic lane and the west-side sidewalk had been closed so that this work could begin. The designated alternate route goes over the Harvard Bridge, downstream. The project will be done in 3 phases to keep traffic open throughout construction. The project is expected to wrap up in late November 2011.

The BU Bridge is undergoing the first phase of a planned renovation. The first phase is the replacement of the sidewalk with work being performed by Unified Construction Inc. The design consultant is STV Inc. of Boston.

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