A 1905 postcard of Echo Bridge's promenade, cropped to fit as a banner

Echo Bridge to Close to Pedestrians March 15, 2006: MWRA

What follows is the text of a memorandum sent to the Hemlock Gorge Reservation Site Supervisor by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) that Echo Bridge will be closed temporarily to pedestrians.

MWRA Press Release


Ria Convery, 617-788-1105 or
[email protected]


Handrails a danger to public safety

In the interest of public safety, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) must close the top of Echo Bridge to pedestrian traffic. Built in 1896, Echo Bridge spans the Charles River from Newton Upper Falls to Needham. The closure will go into effect on March 15, 2006 until the historic handrails are repaired or replaced.

The historic cast iron handrails along the top of the 500-foot long bridge are original and are in very poor condition. Eight sections of rail and 18 ornamental tops are missing, sections of the handrails are detached and other sections are cracked or splitting. To protect public safety, the MWRA has determined that the top of the bridge must be closed to pedestrian traffic.

The MWRA will be installing a temporary chain link fence on either end of the bridge with warning signs to prevent public access to the top of the bridge. However, other areas of Hemlock Gorge, including the area surrounding the bridge and the recently completed Echo Bridge platform under the main arch, will remain open to the public.

The pedestrian bridge is actually a conduit for the MWRA’s Sudbury Aqueduct.  The aqueduct is no longer used for daily water supply, but is an emergency back-up transmission line. 

MWRA and its Advisory Board have determined that ratepayer money cannot be used to complete this work.  However, since the hand rails are historic, MWRA has offered to work with elected officials and other interested parties to identify potential sources of outside funding. 

For more information, please contact Tom Lindberg at (617) 788-1184 or [email protected].