Arthur Fiedler Footbridge Renovation Project

Restoring the iconic entrance to the Charles River Esplanade
Photo credit: Shepley Bulfinch Architectural Firm.

The Arthur Fiedler Footbridge was built in 1953 and dedicated in 1954 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Boston Pops Orchestra public performances on the Charles River Esplanade. Conductor Arthur Fiedler, who led the Pops from 1930 to 1979, spearheaded the campaign to bring music to the Esplanade. He conducted the first public concert at the site of the Hatch Shell in 1929 and continued to lead the Pops in regular public performances at that site until he retired.

The Footbridge spans Storrow Drive and connects the Back Bay to the Esplanade. It is the most heavily used access to the park, delivering visitors to the Hatch Shell and Esplanade Playspace.  It is an example of Brutalism, an architectural style which emerged in the 1950s characterized by minimalist design and bare building materials and structural elements.

The goal of this project is to repair and restore the Footbridge to its original appearance. Historical documentation has indicated that the bridge originally had a raw/exposed concrete finish.

  • The current salmon color was introduced in the 1970s
  • Due to the numerous concrete repairs to be made and the need to apply a protective coating to the concrete, a grey elastomeric protective coating will be applied to the bridge to mimic the original finish

Project Scope

  • Repairs to the concrete
  • Replacement of expansion joints
  • Caulking
  • Removal of existing paint
  • Application of new paint (elastomeric coating)
  • Application of an anti-skid, waterproof membrane on all walkable surfaces – bridge decks and ramps

Project Schedule

  • Work will begin Monday, May 17, 2021 and is scheduled to be completed on Friday, August 20, 2021.
  • Work will be conducted from 7AM – 4PM Monday-Friday. Daytime work will be limited to work that will not require any disruption to vehicular traffic under the bridge.
  • Nighttime work will be limited to work requiring lane closures and detours and will be conducted between the hours of 8PM – 5AM Sunday – Thursday. When night work is required, traffic advisories will be issued.

Access to the Esplanade

The Fiedler Footbridge will be closed for the duration of construction

The Paul Dudley White Bikeway between Dartmouth Street and the Footbridge will periodically be closed to accommodate construction vehicle access. Detours for all pedestrian and bike traffic will be clearly marked, and public safety personnel will insure safe access to the Esplanade Playspace.


Bike and pedestrian traffic accessing the bridge from the corner of Beacon Street and David Mugar Way

  • Proceed 3 blocks west to Dartmouth Street, turn right on Dartmouth Street to access footbridge to lagoons and Night Shift Owl’s Nest.
fiedler map 1
  • Proceed northeast along the sidewalk abutting the Footbridge and continue along David Mugar Way approximately 6 blocks to the Fanny Appleton Footbridge to reach Community Boating, the Hatch Shell and Teddy Ebersol Fields.

fieldler map 2

In the park, the Paul Dudley White bikeway will be closed between Dartmouth Street and the Footbridge. Pedestrian and bicycle traffic will be detoured across the lagoon via footbridges around the project site. The detours will be clearly marked.

The Esplanade Playspace can be accessed by either route. Public safety personnel will be present during work hours to assist families to the playground. The Playspace will be fenced in places to limit access from the playground to the project site.

fiedler map 3

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