Tobin Bridge

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"Mystic River Bridge" redirects here. For the bridge in Mystic, Connecticut, see Mystic River Bascule Bridge.
Tobin Bridge
Tobin bridge 2009f.JPG
The Tobin Bridge viewed from East Boston
Coordinates 42°23′05″N 71°02′51″W / 42.38483°N 71.04755°W / 42.38483; -71.04755Coordinates: 42°23′05″N 71°02′51″W / 42.38483°N 71.04755°W / 42.38483; -71.04755
Carries US 1
Crosses Mystic River
Locale Boston, Massachusetts
Official name Maurice J. Tobin Memorial Bridge
Maintained by Massachusetts Department of Transportation
Design three-span cantilevered truss bridge, double-deck
Material steel[1]
Total length 11,906 feet (3,629 m)[1]
Width 36 feet (11 m)[1]
Longest span 800 ft (244 m)[1]
Clearance above 135 feet (41 m)
Construction begin April 12, 1948[1]
Opened February 27, 1950[1]
Toll $1.25 E-ZPass
($0.30 for local residents),
$1.50 pay-by-mail (auto rate) for either direction.
Tobin Bridge is located in Massachusetts
Tobin Bridge

The Maurice J. Tobin Memorial Bridge (formerly and still sometimes referred to as the Mystic River Bridge or less often the Mystic/Tobin Bridge) is a cantilever truss bridge that spans more than two miles (3 km) from Boston to Chelsea over the Mystic River in Massachusetts.[2] The bridge is the largest in New England.[2] It is operated by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and carries U.S. Route 1. It was built between 1948 and 1950 and opened to traffic on February 2, 1950, replacing the former Chelsea Street Bridge. The 36-foot (11 m) wide roadway has three lanes of traffic on each of the two levels with Northbound traffic on the lower level and Southbound traffic on the upper level.


The bridge is a three-span cantilevered truss bridge at 1,525 ft (465 m) in total length.[3] The center span is longest at 800 ft (244 m) and the maximum truss height is 115 ft (35 m). There are 36 approach spans to the North and 32 to the South. The roadway is seven lanes wide between the shortest (439 ft; 134 m) span and the center to accommodate a toll plaza on the Southbound deck only. The Northbound toll plaza was closed in the 1980s.


The bridge was originally operated by the Massachusetts Port Authority, which, according to the original plan, was to remove the tolls once the $27 million in bonds used to finance the bridge's construction were retired in 1978.[citation needed] Instead, the tolls were increased to 25 cents to cover the closing of the Northbound toll plaza in the 1980s. Starting in the early 1990s the tolls increased sharply to help pay for the Big Dig.[citation needed] As of 2016, the toll is $3.00 for non-commercial cars[4] ($2.50 with an E-ZPass issued by any toll agency, and $0.30 for registered residents of Charlestown and Chelsea with an E-ZPass).

In 1967, the Mystic River Bridge was renamed in honor of Maurice J. Tobin, former Boston mayor and Massachusetts governor. During his term in office (1945–1947), Tobin created Massport and ordered the construction of the Mystic River Bridge. Tobin went on to serve as Secretary of Labor under President Harry Truman before he died in 1953.

In 1973, a gravel truck traveling over the lower deck crashed into a support, collapsing the upper deck onto the truck and killing the driver. Later that year, the bridge reopened after more than two months of repair.[5]

Legislation was passed to transfer the bridge from Massport to the new Massachusetts Department of Transportation, effective January 1, 2010.[6][7]

On the morning of July 21, 2014, the bridge's tollbooths were closed and eventually removed for an all-electronic and cashless tolling system, and from that point on all toll charges are paid for via either E-ZPass at the current rate, or "pay-by-mail" where an invoice will be sent to motorist's home via license plate number recognition at the former cash toll rate. This is part of a test by MassDOT to eventually go to a full automatic tolling system throughout the Commonwealth.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Tobin Memorial Bridge at Structurae
  2. ^ a b Abel, David (2007-10-23). "Work never stops on Tobin bridge: Costs rising as crews try to maintain old structure". The Boston Globe. 
  3. ^ "The Tobin Memorial Bridge". Archived from the original on 1999-08-28. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  4. ^ "Toll Calculator". Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  5. ^ "The (Mystic) Tobin Bridge". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "Mass DOT Newsletter (volume 6)". Massachusetts DOT. Archived from the original on 8 January 2011. 
  7. ^ Chapter 25 of the Acts of 2009. Section 144. Section 156(b) reallocates bridge tolls from Massport to MassDOT effective July 1, 2010.
  8. ^ Creamer, Alyssa (18 July 2014). "No Cash Allowed: Tobin Bridge Tolls Go All-Electronic Monday". WBUR-FM. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 

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