Friday, November 28, 2014

Evelyn Moakley Bridge, Boston

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The next Fort Point Channel bridge on our mini-tour is the new-ish Evelyn Moakley Bridge, which sits just south of the Northern Avenue Bridge that it effectively replaced. It's named for the wife of Congressman Joe Moakley, who represented South Boston for nearly half a century. A Boston Globe columnist recently mentioned this bridge in a laundry list of things named after politicians, a practice he was none too happy about.

Unlike the older bridges along the channel, this is a fixed-span bridge (i.e. it doesn't open), which meant that the bridges south if it (including the Congress St. & Summer St. bridges) no longer needed to open either. In addition to the obvious cost savings from doing this, a page at EngineerYourFuture mentions that the Moakley bridge was also designed to carry various utilities across the channel. That probably drove the bridge design too, since you can't really have a water main or electrical supply that cuts out whenever a bridge opens. Nobody would stand for that.

The bridge is the main gateway to a redeveloped former port area the city insists on calling the "Innovation District". A recent Boston Globe article said "The Innovation District has all the charm of an office park in a suburb of Dallas", and grumbled about the ugly cookie-cutter buildings and vast parking lots. A 2013 Chowhound article wasn't too impressed with the local restaurants either.

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