1 vote

Northern Avenue Bridge


Looking Northeast Toward Northern Ave. Swing Bridge. Boston Tea Party Ship At Ahchor In Foreground

Photo taken for the Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #228240


Street Views 


The Northern Avenue Swing Bridge, built in 1908, is one of only three surviving swing bridges built by the city of Boston in the late 19th and early 20th century. Today, still operated infrequently on its original compressed-air system, it is the only operable bridge in Boston of its type. The bridge is 80 feet in width, encompassing between four sets of pin connected trusses, two sidewalks, two roadways and a center lane reserved for a double-track freight railroad. The swing span is 283 feet in length. The rim bearing swing span is carried by a 40 foot diameter drum, in turn supported by 56 steel wheels running on a track along the rim of the granite island pier.

-- Historic American Engineering Record


Pratt through truss bridge over Fort Point Channel on Northern Avenue
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Intact but closed to all traffic
Future prospects
Bridge has been at risk of demolition since 2016 but as of September 2020 remains standing
Built 1908, rehabilitated 1979, closed to vehicles 1997, closed to pedestrians 2014
Swing Pratt through truss
Length of largest span: 278.9 ft.
Total length: 636.2 ft.
Deck width: 56.1 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Old Northern Avenue Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.35447, -71.04947   (decimal degrees)
42°21'16" N, 71°02'58" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/331209/4691168 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Boston South
Inventory number
BH 51789 (Bridgehunter.com ID)


Boston, Massachusetts (98)
Built 1908 (711)
Built during 1900s (7,224)
Closed (2,668)
Deck girder (5,742)
Doomed (1,072)
Fort Point Channel (6)
Girder (10,231)
Have street view (26,931)
Massachusetts (1,104)
Movable (2,970)
NR-eligible (4,047)
Owned by city (5,397)
Pin-connected (3,901)
Plate girder (7,920)
Pratt through truss (5,386)
Pratt truss (9,293)
Span length 250-500 feet (1,196)
Suffolk County, Massachusetts (124)
Swing (1,453)
Through truss (15,052)
Total length 500-1000 feet (2,871)
Truss (32,771)

Update Log 

  • October 1, 2020: New photos from Nick Boppel
  • November 14, 2017: New photo from Christopher Finigan
  • June 28, 2016: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added category "Pin-connected"
  • January 22, 2016: Updated by Elliott Johnson: Noted planned demolition
  • February 16, 2015: Photos imported by Dave King
  • November 12, 2013: New Street View added by J.P.
  • March 21, 2012: Added by James Baughn


  • HAER MA-37 - Northern Avenue Swing Bridge, Spanning Fort Point Channel at boundary between Boston & South Boston, Boston, Suffolk County, MA
  • Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth
  • Douglas Butler
  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Elliott Johnson - elliottsgon15 [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Christopher Finigan
  • Nick Boppel - nickboppel01 [at] gmail [dot] com


Northern Avenue Bridge
Posted May 25, 2016, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

100 Million for a new bridge!?!...

The Mayor has more of the Taxpayers money than he has common sense!!!

Northern Avenue Bridge
Posted May 25, 2016, by Nathan B Holth (nathan [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

A contest to determine what will replace this bridge? Here is an award winning idea. Restore the bridge parts that were put in storage and install those back in place and reopen the bridge. This is a great idea because it what they claimed they were going to do. Then Boston can get a "We Didn't Lie To Taxpayers" award.

Northern Avenue Bridge
Posted May 25, 2016, by Steve Lindsey (SteveLindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)
Northern Avenue Bridge
Posted February 17, 2016, by Ian Martin
Northern Avenue Bridge
Posted January 22, 2016, by Elliott Johnson (elliottsgon15 [at] hotmail [dot] com)
Northern Avenue Bridge
Posted December 25, 2014, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)