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Frances Appleton Bridge

The Frances Appleton pedestrian bridge linking the Beacon Hill neighborhood to the Esplanade and the popular Hatch Shell is one of the most heavily used footbridges in the state. At 14 feet wide and 750 feet long, it is one of Massachusetts’s longest and most elegant pedestrian bridges. In recognition of this, it won the prestigious Arthur G. Hayden medal, an international award given out once a year. Strong and sustained advocacy made this project possible and led to its being named after the wife of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation built the bridge and transferred it to the Department of Conservation and Recreation for care and control.

Background:  When design began in 2005 for the full refurbishment of the Longfellow Bridge, the purpose and need of the project did not include improved connections to the Charles River Reservation. Representing the Esplanade Association, Herb Nolan joined the Longfellow Bridge Stakeholders group to advise the Highway Administrator. Through analysis and graphic illustrations, Herb demonstrated the value of including a new pedestrian bridge as well as wider river walks on the Cambridge side of the river. Miguel Rosales, who helped design the Leonard Zakim Bridge in Boston, was tasked with the design.

Rehabilitation of the Longfellow bridge began in 2013 and was substantially completed five years later at a final cost of $306 million as part of the state’s accelerated bridge program.  The Frances Appleton Bridge cost $12.5 million dollars to complete.

Preservation Achievement Award for 2021 from the Boston Preservation Alliance.
2008Governor Patrick proposes Accelerated Bridge program to reduce bridges in need of repair statewide
2008Start of design for Longfellow Bridge
2010Longfellow Stakeholders Group formed
2012Highway Administrator expands scope to include pedestrian bridge
2013Start of construction
2014Legislation to name the bridge after Frances "Fanny" Appleton
2018Bridge is Completed
2019Ribbon cutting for Appleton Bridge

Project Details

  • 2008
Solomon Investments
  • Planning support and advocacy
Partner Investments to date
  • $12,500,000
Key Partners
  • Completed

Master map page

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