The John Greenleaf Whittier Memorial Bridge is a picturesque bridge that connects Amesbury and Salisbury to Newburyport. The bridge has a total length of 1,400 feet and spans the Merrimack River. It features a beautiful through arch bridge design and allows for four lanes of traffic to move in each direction. The bridge opened in 2018 as part of the $318 million Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement Project.
John Greenleaf Whittier Memorial Bridge History
The first bridge connecting the towns was built in 1951, but a replacement was needed in the 21st century. The Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement Project was started by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) in the summer of 2013. The project’s objectives included raising the bridge’s safety requirements, altering the design of key I-95 departure ramps, and increasing its capacity and traffic flow. These were critical objectives to help keep vehicles safer and address the issue that the bridge could no longer fulfill the region’s traffic demands.
The Whittier Bridge, named after the well-known Fireside Poet John Greenleaf Whittier, had a lot riding on it, literally. It connects two towns that date back to the 15th century and have been growing steadily since their founding. The Whittier Bridge was clearly not up to modern standards, due to the rapidly rising populations and the application of new laws.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Newburyport on October 30, 2018, Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito were joined by Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver, members of the Massachusetts Legislature, municipal authorities, and local leaders. This event marked the culmination of a five-year project that cost $318 million to complete the Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement Project. More than 100,000 people cross the bridge every day.
- Construction start: 2017
- Construction end: 2018
- Carries: Interstate 95
- Crosses: Merrimack River
- Design/Style: Through arch bridge
- Total length: 1,400 feet
- Total width: 65.9 feet
- Daily traffic (estimated): Approx. 100,000
- Address: Interstate 95
- Town: Amesbury
- State: Massachusetts
- GPS: Lat 42.83586 Lng -70.91012
- Parking notes: If you are looking to check out the bridge up close and from underneath, it is best to park at Moseley Woods. Moseley Woods has a trail that will lead you to the bridge. There are dozens of parking spaces and parking is free.
- Parking directions: HERE
- Location directions: HERE
Looking for more great spots to explore nearby? Check out the GoXplr Massachusetts Map at goxplr.com/map/massachusetts!