The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing it has received permission from the U.S. Coast Guard to reduce the number of daily “on demand” openings of the Craigie Drawbridge between Boston and Cambridge and to instead have more scheduled timed openings of the drawbridge to make travel more efficient by MBTA bus shuttles using the bridge during the Orange Line and Green Line closure.
• Starting at 6 p.m., and running through 7 p.m., September 18, the Craigie Drawbridge will only open for marine traffic at these scheduled times mid-days: 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
• The duration of these openings will be 10 minutes.
• This is new for mariners who normally can approach the bridge and have the bridge open on signal.
• The U.S. Coast Guard has approved boats not requiring an opening to be allowed to go under the bridge when needed. Larger boats are directed by the State Police Marine Unit to line up and wait until 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. at which time the bridge will be opened to allow safe passage.
• The bridge will remain manned 24 hours.
• In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard has approved an extended Monday-Friday afternoon closure of the drawbridge, from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
During the suspended Orange Line and Green Line closures, approximately 100 MBTA shuttle buses will use a route which includes the Craigie Drawbridge, doing continuous loops each day where headways are expected to be 45 to 60 seconds.
On weekends and Labor Day, the bridge shall open on signal. Vessels capable of passing under the bridge in the closed position shall be allowed to do so. At all times the bridge shall open upon request by public safety and law enforcement vessels. The bridge shall open on signal at all times other than the closures approved by the regulation and this letter. The U.S. Coast Guard will announce the temporary change to the bridge operating regulation in the Local Notice to Mariners and via a Broadcast Notice to Mariners.
MassDOT has agreed to provide openings for prescheduled trips of the Charles Riverboat Company on Saturday, September 10.
MassDOT sought permission from the U.S. Coast Guard, in part stating, “This time of year Craigie Drawbridge is typically open on signal; except that from 6:15 a.m. to 9:10 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays, the draw need not open for the passage of vessels, except Emergency and vessels in distress. We would request that in addition to the peak hour restrictions, we extend the time to 7:00 p.m. and between the midday hours from 9:10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. that the drawbridge shall only open at scheduled times: 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.” The U.S. Coast Guard approved all restrictions suggested by MassDOT for the time period of the MBTA Orange and Green Line closure only. The Craigie Drawbridge is regulated by Regulation 33 CFR 117.591 and located on SR 28 (Msgr O’Brien Highway}, mile 1.0, across the Charles River.