Charles River New Dam Locks - Boston, MA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NorStar
N 42° 22.122 W 071° 03.706
19T E 330235 N 4692772
Quick Description: The new dam locks for the Charles River allow small craft boaters to pass between the brackish water of Boston Harbor and the fresh water Charles River Basin.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 7/25/2014 3:58:17 PM
Waymark Code: WMM5J3
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
Views: 1

Long Description:
In Boston, behind North Station/New Boston Garden, is the Charles River new dam and lock.

The dam is located between the Boston neighborhoods of West End and Charlestown. Access either through Paul Revere Park on the Charlestown side or from an access road via a parking lot to the east of I-93 that runs alongside the New Boston Garden.

The lock is located on the south side of the dam. There is a walkway that traverses the dam - be careful as there are uneven steel plates and moving walkways.

The US Army Corps of Engineers operates the locks, who also built the dam and locks in 1978 at the cost of $61.1 million

"There are three navigation locks for commercial and recreational vessels. Two of the locks, for small recreational craft, each measure 200 feet long, 22 feet wide, and eight feet deep. The third lock, 40 feet wide, 300 feet long, and 17 feet deep, accommodates commercial vessels, large recreational boats, and the overflow of small craft during peak days."

Downstream of the locks is a channel that is between the old and new dams. The lock for the old dam, which is at the Museum of Science, is permanently open. Beyond the old lock is the Charles River Basin, a large artificial lake between Boston and Cambridge. A few miles upstream is the Watertown dam and the end of navigable water without taking the boat out.

The only large traffic that I know that goes through is the barge containing the fireworks for the Esplanade 4th of July celebration and maybe some smaller cruise boats. There is no industry on the Charles anymore that would use the water for transportation.

Before both dams, the Charles River Basin was just an inlet of Boston Harbor. The dams were needed mainly for sanitation reasons but also for flood control. At times, the tide is actually higher than the river level. Locks also limit the amount of salt water coming in.
Waterway Name: Charles River

Connected Points:
Links the Charles River Basin/channel and the upper Boston Harbor


Type: Lock

Date Opened: 1/1/1978

Elevation Difference (meters): 3.00

Site Status: Operational

Web Site: [Web Link]

Date Closed (if applicable): Not listed

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