U.S. Route 1 passes through Chelsea on two elevated structures:
- The Tobin Bridge
- The Chelsea Viaduct
Both structures are over 60 years old and at the start of the project required significant repair and rehabilitation. MassDOT decided to repair these elevated sections of Route 1 at the same time to minimize impacts on commuters and the local community.
Route 1 is a vital gateway between Boston and communities to the north. The roadway carries over 65,000 people each day in private vehicles, MBTA buses, and freight trucks. The Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project will keep Route 1 safe for travel which is essential for local and regional mobility. When complete, the project removed 15% of the structurally deficient bridge deck in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Schedule and Process
Rehabilitation work on the Tobin Bridge began in 2018 after several years of design, planning, and public outreach. Work included steel and structural repairs, gutter repairs, reconstruction of ramps, and preparatory work for replacement of the lower deck. MassDOT conducted a separate design and public input process in 2017 and 2018 to rehabilitate the Chelsea Viaduct.
In February 2019, MassDOT adopted a resequencing plan proposed by the Chelsea Viaduct general contractor to reduce construction impacts and coordinate bridge work on Route 1 with other transportation projects in the region. A unified plan for public outreach was developed to provide the public with accurate and up to date information about upcoming work and travel impacts on Route 1 over the Tobin Bridge and Chelsea Viaduct. Public outreach has been conducted throughout the duration of the Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project in alignment with a MassDOT project of this size and scope.
As of December 2020, the Tobin Bridge portion of the project has been completed. The Chelsea Curves portion of the project would have been completed earlier than scheduled, by November 2020, but because of work zone protocols adopted because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis the project was slowed down. However, the project is still on track to be completed by its original contract date of Summer 2021.
Roadway impacts should wrap up by spring 2021.
Construction and Traffic Management
We know that construction is inconvenient and can impact everyone who travels through and lives near the work zone. We are working to complete this project quickly and safely and are taking steps to reduce travel impacts throughout construction. MassDOT and its general contractors, J.F. White Contracting and Skanska-McCourt Joint Venture, are committed to keeping you informed and managing the impacts as best we can.
As of November 2020, MassDOT has restored the HOV lane on I-93 southbound between Medford and the Zakim Bridge dedicated lane for carpools and buses only. The reopening was influenced by Route 1 southbound being restored to its full 3 lane capacity and traffic demand lessening due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. As of June 2021, Route 1 north and southbound are open to a full three lanes during normal commuting hours. Some overnight work continues at this time.
Drivers are reminded to merge as soon as they can safely do so. MassDOT requests that all motorists exercise courtesy and caution through the work zone for a safe and smooth traffic flow.
Visit mass511.com for live and personalized traffic reports, freeway travel times and speeds, and alerts for construction, closures, and crashes.
Work began on April 1st, 2019, check the Traffic and construction page for more details.
MassDOT is committed to helping people get to where they need to go. We will continue to offer increased public transit options and HOV lane access for all vehicles on I-93 Southbound while work continues during the winter months (assuming this option continues after the evaluation of travel time data).
The following public transit options will be available throughout construction and are funded by MassDOT project funds:
- Visit MBTA.com to find a commuter rail train that works for your schedule.
- Follow @MBTA_Parking on Twitter for up-to-date MBTA commuter rail parking lot capacity updates.
MBTA Blue Line:
- The MBTA has added additional trains to the Blue Line to increase public transit capacity.
- A large Park and Ride garage is available at Wonderland Station in Revere.
- Visit MBTA.com to find the Blue Line Schedule
MBTA Silver Line:
- Inbound SL3 service will be free from Chelsea, Bellingham Square, Box District, and Eastern Avenue stops for the duration of construction.
- Silver line gateway will be open in both directions.
- SL3 service will not be impacted by this project.
- Visit MBTA.com to find the SL3 schedule
We invite you to sign up for the project’s e-list to receive meeting notifications and project updates. All members of the public who belonged to the Tobin Bridge or Chelsea Viaduct e-list have been added to the Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project e-list and will receive unified project updates.
MassDOT will also share information about the project through:
- coordination with local government agencies
- media briefings and notifications
- flyers distributed to project area abutters
- posters and flyers at MBTA bus stops and train stations
- emails to project stakeholders
If your neighborhood organization, advocacy group, or other community organization would like to request a briefing, please send an email to Donny Dailey at Tobin-Chelsea@dot.state.ma.us
Translations and Accommodations
Standard project materials such as fact sheets and detour routers will be made available in English and Spanish. Spanish interpreters will be present at all public meetings that are hosted. For other languages, or any other accommodations, please contact us.
If you have any questions, need further information, or want to be added to future informational mailing lists, please contact:
Legislative Liaison - MassDOT Highway Division