Boston’s Northern Avenue Swing Bridge was built in 1908 over the Fort Point Channel to facilitate the movement of cargo, trains, vehicles and pedestrians between downtown Boston and South Boston’s busy port area. There are presently only three surviving swing bridges in the Boston area from that time period.
The center swing span is 283 feet in length and 80 feet wide. This span pivots on a 56 steel wheels traveling around a 40 foot diameter track mounted on a granite island in the middle of the channel. It is the only swing bridge that was designed to operate with a compressed air powered system to rotate the center span. Apparently the center span is still able to rotate but the compressed air system has been replaced with an electric one.
There has been extensive debate as to whether to save the bridge or tear it down. In 1995, congress approved a $3 million grant to renovate the historic bridge. Half of the bridge tender’s house was demolished in 1998. (The remaining portion can be seen to the north of the bridge in mid-channel.) The bridge is presently closed to vehicular traffic but is used extensively by pedestrians as work and debate continue.
Note: story presented above is from various Internet sources. Facts have not been checked.
See this website for more technical bridge details and photos:
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