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 in need of significant repair and rehabilitation. MassDOT is repairing 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 will remove 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 has been developed to provide the public with accurate and update to date information about upcoming work and travel impacts on Route 1 over the Tobin Bridge and Chelsea Viaduct. Public outreach will be conducted throughout the duration of the Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project in alignment with a MassDOT project of this size and scope.
MassDOT is committed to reducing the duration and impacts of the Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation project. We plan to maintain work zones and lane closures throughout the winter so that crews can continue working towards project completion when weather conditions are favorable.
MassDOT plans to complete all mainline work and associated lane closures on Route 1 by the end of 2020.
Construction and Traffic Management
We know that construction is inconvenient will 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.
The project work zone begins on the Tobin Bridge and continues through the Chelsea Curves on Route 1 to the County Road overpass. Through the work zone, 2 of 3 lanes will be open in each direction on Route 1 during peak commuting hours. During some nights and weekends, Route 1 will be reduced to 1 lane in each direction.
These lane reductions will be in place from Spring 2019 to the end of 2020 and are necessary to replace the elevated structures. MassDOT has placed advanced warning signs throughout the region to provide commuters with accurate and up to date information about travel times and options.
To accommodate travelers during this necessary construction, MassDOT has opened the I-93 southbound carpool lane between Medford and the Zakim Bridge to all vehicles regardless of the number of occupants. MassDOT's data indicates this may have a positive impact on traffic during this major construction operation. We are monitoring this temporary change and will make adjustments as needed. The HOV lane has well-established legislative protection and we do not plan to make this condition permanent.
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:
- Free inbound travel on the MBTA SL3 bus from all stops in Chelsea
- Inbound and outbound travel on the Commuter Rail with a CharlieCard or CharlieTicket between Chelsea Station and North Station
- Additional Blue Line trains to increase ridership capacity
- 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 will be adding additional trains to the Blue Line to increase public transit capacity.
- A large Park and Ride garage is available at Wonderland Station in Revere.
MBTA Silver Line:
- SL3 service will not be impacted by this project.
- Inbound SL3 service will be free from Chelsea, Bellingham Square, Box District, and Eastern Avenue stops for the duration of construction.
MBTA Bus Routes:
- This work is expected to result in significant traffic delays. Customers who take the 111, 426, and 428 buses may want to seek alternate routes, especially during peak travel times. A list of alternatives to these bus routes is available on the MBTA website.
We are continuously tracking the reliability of trains and buses. The MBTA Performance Dashboard provides information on how reliable your new commute could be.
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
- community pop ups
- flyers distributed to project area abutters
- posters and flyers at MBTA bus stops and train stations
- emails to project stakeholders
Public meetings in Chelsea, MA will be advertised in English and Spanish in both print and online publications.
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 held in Chelsea, MA. 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:
Government & Public Affairs Liaison, MassDOT Government & Community Affairs