4 travel lanes opened – weeks early – on Fore River Bridge

State Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack joined Acting Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver, members of the Massachusetts Legislature, and local officials at a news conference in Quincy highlighting the opening of the new Fore River Bridge to four total lanes of traffic on Saturday, Sept. 16, weeks sooner than originally anticipated.

The bridge carries Route 3A over the Fore River, between Quincy and Weymouth.

 “We are pleased to have opened two lanes of traffic in each direction on the new Fore River Bridge, which serves as an important link between Quincy and Weymouth and the South Shore region,” Pollack said. “We have appreciated the cooperation of the traveling public, civic leaders, and local community throughout our construction operations and look forward to completing this bridge replacement project.”

“We thank the crews who have worked 20 hours per day to get us to this point where four total lanes of traffic are now able to travel along the new Fore River Bridge,” Gulliver said. “While there is still work to be completed, including dismantling the existing bridge and finishing installing sidewalks and bicycle lanes, we are proud to reach this significant interim milestone.”

 The new bridge has several benefits, including a higher lift span, meaning fewer bridge raisings for vessels traveling underneath, and a quicker raise time, meaning traffic is stopped for less time when the bridge is raised. The bridge also has a solid concrete deck, which is quieter than the old temporary bridge.

Capacity along the bridge was reduced to one lane in each direction on the evening of June 2 in order to allow crews and contractors to continue construction and begin demolition activities on the existing temporary bridge.

On the evening of Aug. 16, MassDOT reached a significant milestone when all vehicular traffic was shifted off the existing temporary Fore River Bridge and onto the new replacement bridge. This marked the end of service for the temporary bridge and has allowed crews to continue demolition operations.

“Full beneficial use” on the project is expected to be achieved by next June.

The new structure is the third movable bridge at this location, the first being a swing bridge constructed in the early 20th century. The 1902 swing bridge was replaced by a bascule bridge in 1936, when it was determined that the earlier bridge presented a hazard to navigation of the river. In the late 1990s, the 1936 bridge was found to be deteriorated and traffic was directed off it and onto the existing temporary bridge.

The new permanent vertical lift bridge carries the 32,000 vehicles that use the 3A corridor each day.