Alright, everyone, this is important. If you're driving into Salem and plan to take Rte. 1A South into our bewitching seaport, you need to be aware of some changes to the traffic pattern.
The "Bridge Street Bypass Road" opened a week ago, and I must admit that I have developed a certain fondness for this beautiful new road that travels along Salem's North River, connecting downtown Salem with the Beverly/Salem Bridge (AKA Veterans Memorial Bridge). There is far less traffic on Bridge Street, which is great for automotive travel.
Here's what you need to know while GPS systems and online mapping programs catch up with Salem's progress:
If you are coming into Salem via Rte. 114 or Lowell Street/Boston Street and eventually connect with Rte. 1A south, you now have to turn right at the intersection after the St. Peter's Street intersection. There is a sign that indicates a right turn for Rte. 1A south, or stay straight for Rte. 1A North.
If you are coming into Salem from Beverly, after crossing the Veterans Memorial Bridge, you should turn left onto Bridge Street if you want to access the Clipper Ship Inn, Coffee Time Bakeshop, or any of the businesses on Bridge Street. This is also the direction to go if your destination is Pickering Wharf, Winter Street, Salem Common, Winter Island or Salem Willows.
If you are coming from Beverly into Salem and your destination is Salem Center, Summer Street, or Chestnut Street you should stay straight on the Bypass Road.
If you end up on the Bypass Road by accident, fret not. Heading north, you can turn right onto Bridge Street at the light before the bridge. Bridge Street will bring you back to Salem Center quite quickly (less traffic, you know). If you are driving south and find yourself on the Bypass Road unintentionally, turn left at the light onto Rte. 1A and you will find yourself coming up a hill to the familiar intersection with Winter Street where 1A South turns Right.
Either way, enjoy the Bypass Road. As I said, it's a lovely drive along the North River.