Save Our Superstructure: willful neglect has condemned a vital link to our past – a path to our future. Everyday the barely standing Old Northern Avenue Bridge begs Bostonians to value its history. Today that challenge is unmet.
Concerns of a catastrophic failure forced the Department of Public Works to close the bridge last year. Deemed by engineers as too dangerous for a pedestrian, the span once simultaneously supported trains, trolley’s and trucks along its deck. Today, the bridge carries only a message: Boston is lost.
Built in 1908, the Old Northern Avenue Bridge is the last swinging bridge in our city – one of few in the country. The structure is a piece of industrial art worthy of being a gateway to the self proclaimed Innovation District. When her center span sweeps over the historic Fort Point Channel people come to a standstill. In awe, crowds watch poetry in motion as hundreds of feet of steel trusses silently glide over the sea as they have for over a hundred years. The city is a better place with the Old Northern Avenue Bridge in its midst.
The Seaport District, aka the Innovation District, is adrift in a sea of suburban architecture from somewhere else. Where lighting attempts to coverup a lack of substance. The emerging community owes its worth to the waterfront it occupies, the subterranean superhighways below its surface streets and its proximity to the city’s center – not to the buildings being erected. Nearly 1,000 acres of promising land needs an anchor – a root to grow from. The Fort Point Channel is that saving grace. The Northern Avenue Bridge is one of its most prominent layers in the city’s industrial yesteryears. Generations of Bostonians passed over the bridge as they toiled away at their legacy. Now is the time to recognize our ancestors work with a full restoration of their bridge. Save our bridge.