The concept of connecting East Cambridge to City Square in Charlestown along the Charles River waterfront isn't a new one. The project, to build a bicycle and pedestrian bridge, an underbridge plaza and expand North Point Park, was designed and ready to be built in 2007. But when it went out to bid, the costs were high and the funds were not there to make it work.
Recovery Act Impact: North Bank Bridge Project
Total funding: $29.6 million
Bicycle and pedestrian bridge
Underbridge plaza with green space
Expansion of North Point Park
Provide connectivity between the Charles River and Boston Harbor
Two years later, the project was put out to bid again but this time the bids were lower and there were funds available due to the Recovery Act.
"Thankfully the stimulus program was there," said John Waters, project manager for Barletta Heavy Division, the contractor of the project.
The stimulus program is providing $29.6 million to develop the 750-foot North Bank Bridge, the Leonard P. Zakim Bridge Underbridge Plaza and the North Point Park Expansion. The bridge will provide pedestrians and cyclists with access to North Point Park and Paul Revere Park and a green space will also be developed along the river's edge. The expansion of North Point Park includes developing a maintenance facility for the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
"The final idea is a large connectivity between the Charles River and Boston Harbor," said Waters. "This park completes the loop."
According to Robert O'Neill, resident engineer for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the idea for this project was developed under the Central Artery project but there were no funds remaining to implement it.
"The goal is to tie all the parks together," he said.