Elliot Bridge Rehabilitation Project

Elliot Street/Central Ave. Bridge project

The project to restore the failing bridge connecting Central Ave in Needham and Elliot Street in Newton will require occasional closures and/or lane closures between now andl July 14 followed by a complete closure for several months starting in mid-July.

From May 9-July 14, there will be occasional lane closures which will likely result in weekday traffic delays. Directional travel restrictions during peak commuter time may result in the need for one-way traffic only. During off-peak periods, motorists may experience delays as a result of alternate crossing from both directions. Weekday traffic delays will likely be between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. As work progresses, the contractor may opt for longer work days.

Beginning July 15, the bridge will be closed to all vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic. It is currently projected that the closure will remain in effect until early December. This information is based on preliminary information from the contractor. The contractor is in the process of preparing a comprehensive schedule.

The chamber recognizes that this project will cause considerable frustration for area businesses, their employees, customers and commuters. However the bridge is failing and this project has been deemed to be essential. We urge our members to continue to support the businesses on both sides of bridge.



The Central Avenue/Elliot Street Bridge, originally constructed prior to 1844, is a three-span stone masonry arch. In 1897, the bridge was widened by fifteen feet on the upstream (southern) side for the Boston & Newton Street Railway. A sidewalk was built on new concrete piers on the downstream side in about 1970. In 1991, the downstream sidewalk was reconstructed and an upstream sidewalk was added. The bridge’s 80-foot long roadway consists of one lane in each direction, and the total structure width, including sidewalks, ranges from approximately 46’-9” to 48’-9”.

The arch is historically named Cook’s Bridge and is listed as a contributing element to the Newton Upper Falls Historic District on both the United States Department of the Interior’s National Register of Historic Places and the Massachusetts Historic Commission’s State Register of Historic Places.

Current Conditions

The stones of the bridge arches have shifted and cracked, resulting in reduced load capacity. The most recent load rating was performed in November 2000, and reduced loads are posted at each approach. This includes the prohibition of large fire apparatus from both Newton and Needham who currently utilize alternative routes.

Rehabilitation Program

The proposed rehabilitation program will restore the bridge to allow it to support statutory truck loads and will include, but not be limited to, the following activities:

  • The masonry arches will be repaired by removing and replacing the soil-gravel fill over the arches with reinforced concrete.
  • The foundations will be strengthened by coring concrete-filled micro-piles through the existing stone piers and abutments down to ledge.
  • The north spandrel wall will be removed and reconstructed by cutting the original stones and using them as a veneer on the wall of the new concrete arch infill.
  • Amenities, including ornamental lighting, railings, and benches, will be added to the bridge.

Detour Routes During Rehabilitation

The bridge will be closed to traffic during construction. Two simultaneous detour routes are planned:

Detour - Two Routes

-Northern (Pink): Cedar, Route 9, Ellis/Chestnut
-Southern (Blue): Gould, Highland, Oak/Chestnut
-Westbound Trucks Must Use Southern (Blue) Due to Low Clearance at Chestnut/Route 9

  • The southern route will detour eastbound traffic from Central Ave in Needham south onto Gould St, east onto Highland Ave, continuing east onto Needham St in Newton, north onto Oak St, and west onto Chestnut St to Elliot St. Westbound traffic will use the detour in reverse.
  • The northern route will detour eastbound traffic from Central Ave in Needham north onto Cedar St, continuing north on Cedar St into Wellesley, east onto Route 9, continuing east on Route 9 into Newton, south onto Ellis St, and south onto Chestnut St to Elliot St. Westbound traffic will use the detour route in reverse except that traffic in Newton will go from Chestnut St directly to Route 9, bypassing Ellis St.
  • Westbound truck traffic must use the southern detour route because of a low clearance bridge at the intersection of Chestnut St and Route 9 in Newton.
For more information about the Elliot St./Central Ave. Bridge project please visit: The official website for the City of Newton.

Subscribe to our Events eNewsletter, INBusiness or BOTH!