The Town of Brookline Department of Public Works has issued an important update on the decades-long restoration of the Carlton Street Footbridge.
Originally designed by Alexis French, Olmsted’s collaborator in the design of Riverway and Olmsted Parks and Brookline’s first Town Engineer, the single-span steel truss bridge provided access between Brookline’s historic Longwood/Cottage Farm neighborhoods and the Riverway Park section of the Emerald Necklace. The footbridge and paths were intended to provide linkage between the neighborhoods and the Parks.
According to the Brookline GreenSpace Alliance, “…the Bridge was allowed to deteriorate through deferred maintenance until it was finally closed in 1976. [It] was included in the 1999 major park restoration project which includes improved water quality and historic restoration for the Muddy River Parks. The Secretary of Environmental Affairs’ 2002 Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) certificate regarding the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Report states that ‘the Carlton Street Footbridge is historically significant and is an integral component of the Olmsted Park System, and its eventual rehabilitation and reopening is an established part of the wider Emerald Necklace rehabilitation effort.’”
Major progress has been achieved in restoring the Bridge’s main span (quite an engineering feat!). With the wooden decking almost complete, attention turns to the restoration of the stairways, south ADA ramp, and landscaping. The completion date is set for spring, 2023.