Earlier this year, MassBike spoke up about the need for bicycle infrastructure on the Whittier Bridge as an important way to connect communities across the Merrimack River. After hearing from regional advocates (including Coastal Trails Coalition), local bicyclists, MassBike, the Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, and local officials in Salisbury, Amesbury, and Newburyport, MassDOT has announced that the bridge design will include a bicycle and pedestrian path along the bridge that will connect to roads and paths along both sides. For the first time in Massachusetts’ history, an interstate highway bridge will have bicycle and pedestrian access.
MassBike spoke up at a public meeting and worked with community members and MassDOT officials to help bring a voice for bicyclists. Local advocates and officials took a lead role in making sure that MassDOT understood the importance of including bicycle and pedestrian access in the design.
As one of the five “mega-projects” in the Accelerated Bridge Program, this will be an important step in not only linking communities, but also encouraging bicycle infrastructure on other bridge redesigns across the state. It sets an important precedent and we hope to see other innovative bicycle and pedestrian designs as the program continues.
With the Accelerated Bridge Program’s goal of fixing over 200 bridges in Massachusetts, the Whittier Bridge is just one of many bridges that MassBike has been working on for bicyclists. We have been involved with the Longfellow, Craigie, BU, Anderson, River Street/Western Ave, and Fore River Bridges. We want to ensure that the opportunity for enhancing our important roadway connectors isn’t missed. We’ll have more updates to come as projects continue.