How to know if the drawbridge in East Boston/Chelsea is up or down?
February 22, 2013 4:46 AM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend: is there a website or webcam that shows whether the P.J. McArdle drawbridge connecting East Boston to Chelsea, MA is up or down at any given moment?

My friend works in East Boston and says that when the bridge is up (i.e. allowing water traffic), it can tie up street traffic for half an hour. NextBus doesn’t reflect this, so if she leaves her office to catch a bus that NextBus says is coming in 4 minutes, it could actually be more like a 20-minute wait. She’d rather not leave her warm office only to stand in the cold while the gridlock clears up.

Is there an easy way for her to check the bridge’s current state online before heading outside? No place in her office building has a direct line of sight to the bridge, so she can’t just go to another floor and look out a window. Finally, I take it the bridge is not on a schedule she can look up, but if I’m mistaken and it is a regular, timed event, where would she find that info?
posted by dywypi to Travel & Transportation around Boston, MA (5 answers total)
Based on a notice of deviation from regular operations, it appears that the Chelsea Drawbridge opens when a boat shows up a beeps for it to open. Or phrased more nicely, "The bridge opens on signal at all times as required by 33 CFR 117.593."

This suggests that it does not have a schedule.
posted by sciencegeek at 5:17 AM on February 22, 2013 shows traffic cameras on the Route 1 bridge (Tobin bridge), but doesn't appear to cover the bridge you want. So there's no "official" camera that I can tell.
posted by k5.user at 6:46 AM on February 22, 2013

If there's a solution to this problem, I bet the readers of Universal Hub know about it. Your friend might want to try posting there, or tweeting @UniversalHub.
posted by mskyle at 6:49 AM on February 22, 2013

The off-airport parking place PreFlight Parking used to have this info right on the top of the page in that "Location alert" box, but I don't see it right now. I don't if it means they only put it there if the bridge is up or if they don't do it anymore. A quick call to them would clear that up.
posted by thewildgreen at 1:13 PM on February 22, 2013

Got curious and checked now... PreFlight has this notice on their website:
NOTICE: The Chelsea Creek Bridge will be closed overnight on 2/27 from 8:00 PM to 5:00 AM.

I would be curious to know if there were another way to find the current bridge status online.
posted by thewildgreen at 11:10 AM on February 26, 2013

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