Massachusetts Roads - MA 2 - BU Bridge

MA 2, BU Bridge

Photos start at the "rotary" at the southern end of the BU Bridge, which is really a two-way traffic circle. The clockwise (non-conventional) direction acts as a jughandle; only EB US 20 to BU Bridge traffic can use it (but that traffic can also follow the circle the normal way, back onto WB US 20, and turn right onto the bridge). The outside is a full rotary, with the exception that EB US 20 doesn't follow it, but cuts across it. In essence, the entire thing is a bi-directional half-loop off the south side of US 20, but with functional restrictions. To make things interesting, I-90 slants underneath the bridge/Comm Ave (US 20) intersection, and the demi-rotary rings a small piece of it.

Looking southward (MA 2 EB), this MDC sign is all you get coming off the bridge.

The signage from this intersection dates from 1976, as you can see. This is at the tail end of MA's number style, which is different from FHWA standard font. Notice the notched 2's in the below pictures.

If you a) come off the bridge SB, b) make the first right from 20 EB, or c) make a left from 20 WB, you would be on the counter-clockwise circle, and would face this sign. Following it keeps you on 2 EB and the circle; otherwise you're dumped into Brookline.

This is past the previous sign on the south side of the circle, heading counter-clockwise, where MA 2 EB departs and 2 WB enters on its way up to US 20.

At the traffic light visible in the photo above this one is another old MDC STOP LINE sign. The signal head has clearly been replaced with LED's.

Now, onto the BU Bridge itself, opened in 1928 as US 1. It was once slated for removal because the I-695 Inner Loop would have crossed here, on its way to demolishing Central Square and Cambridge in general.

A couple of views of the truss; note the light pole affixed to the top.

The sidewalk gets interesting, with curb just crumbling away, and electrical wires routed through pipes just lying on the concrete to get to lightposts that in all likelihood no longer function.

When I returned in 2010, the historic but rusty green was being repainted boring but protective silver.

Details of the northeast abutment where the arch comes home to roost.

The special feature of the BU Bridge is that it crosses over a railroad bridge at the same time as both pass with plenty of clearance over the Charles River. The RR was originally two tracks, but only one still exists - there is a brief siding in Cambridge on the old ROW. A lot of the room for the second track has been eaten up by buildings, but the one place where the room will long remain is the western half of this bridge.

Looking up from the jogging/bicycle path along Storrow Drive, through the abandoned half of the railroad bridge, with the BU Bridge on top.

Now, on to the north rotary, which is actually a rotary, but for the fact that it's partially controlled by a traffic light (at the end of the bridge).

Aw, nuts, I didn't want to take the bridge exit off the north rotary! One possible interpretation is a traffic signal analogy: go nuts if you have a slow brain - and stop obeying the crosswalk (well, it looks like "OBEY" and a bicycle). These wooden signs might also be informing you that the crosswalk in question may have not only pedestrians crossing, but also bicycles and certain types of nuts. Or they're saying that you're nutty for not riding a bicycle. Where did these come from, and when, and why, and who put them up, and how long until they come down?

Close, but this sign actually points to the Mem Drive ramp, not the Drive itself.

The sign on either direction of Mem Drive. No idea who this guy is, too lazy to look it up. MA 3 (remember, it doesn't end till US 3 merges) is divided over the entire overpass by a low, wide median curb, visible in this photo, and at the very top it crosses several feet of open grate. Note the MDC-standard CARS ONLY overhanging signs.

Two views of the outside of this beautiful brick overpass.

Looking up at one of the bridge piers, you can almost read an inscription that may be part of a Boston University shield.

The underbelly of the giant - note the wood plank construction.

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