Patch Answers: Charles River Dam Walkway Closures
The path over the locks was closed for a few days in January for repairs and closes several times daily to allow vessels to pass through the dam.
If you’ve ever planned to use the pathway over the Charles River Dam to get to work and found it closed, this answer is for you.
One local reader said last week it seemed like the Charles River Dam Walkway had been closing without any notice lately.
“There is considerable grumbling and discontent when people see they are closed and now have to backtrack to the bridge and possibly be late for work,” the reader wrote. “With appropriate advertising we can plan accordingly.”
To find out if and why the walkway has been closing unexpectedly, Patch turned to Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation spokeswoman SJ Port.
Port said officials do try to spread the word when the walkway is closed for repairs or other reasons for a length of time. The last alert was sent out in early January when the path was closed for three days for lock repairs.
The DCR spokeswoman said she often uses the walkway and understands residents’ frustrations when it is closed, so she tries to get the word out as much as possible.
However, she also said that the pathway is subject to temporary closure throughout the day—especially during the summer—to allow vessels to pass through the locks.
“This is not a sidewalk. It is a dam lock, and it opens whenever vessels need to come through,” Port said. “It’s a great path for commuters—I use it myself—but unfortunately we can’t predict when vessels are coming in and out of the Charles River. It’s an active waterway.”
The path may be blocked for 20-30 minutes several times daily, or longer if the vessel is larger or if there is an issue, Port said.
The DCR staff does not usually send an alert on twitter for daily closures because of vessel activity.
For more information, follow the department on Twitter @MassDCR and check the website, mass.gov/dcr, for updates and advisories. You can also join the DCR listserv by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org; however, you will begin receiving all communication from Massachusetts parks.
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