This month marks the 50th birthday of the Tobin Memorial Bridge. The bridge, first opened to the public on February 27, 1950 is a familiar city landmark owned and operated by the Massachusetts Port Authority. Known as the Mystic River Bridge, it was later renamed the Maurice Tobin Memorial Bridge after former Governor Maurice Tobin in 1967. The Tobin Bridge was designed and constructed in three years at a cost of $27 million, and was the first of the major Massachusetts projects blueprinted by the post war Highway Planning Commission. Authorized by legislation enacted in 1946, the creation of this new high level span provided a long awaited link in the Atlantic coast highway system. "I am proud to be associated with the Tobin Bridge as we celebrate its fifty years of service to the metropolitan area as an integral part of the highway system." said Mary Jane O’Meara, director of the Tobin Memorial Bridge. Measuring 2 and 1/4 miles, the Tobin bridge remains the longest toll bridge in New England. It is longer even than the Golden Gate Bridge and twice as long as the Brooklyn Bridge. Today, 75,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day, significantly higher than the 5,000 that made the daily trek across the bridge in 1950. Prior to the Tobin Bridge’s opening, motorists depended on the Chelsea Street Bridge to bring them in and out of Boston. Back ups in Chelsea and Charlestown had become so commonplace that at one point 54 % of accidents in Chelsea were attributable to tie ups at the bridge. To honor its birthday, Massport will award community donations to the following organizations: Chelsea ROCA youth star conservation crew for their community service on environmental issues, the Chelsea High School Science and Technology Fair to help defray the cost of award fro all recipients, the Charlestown Against Drugs (CHAD) Charlestown Boxing Club for their programs to enhance physical fitness, self control, and self esteem and the Friends of City Square Park to assist in moving trees. Massport regularly sponsors programs within the communities of Chelsea and Charlestown including: environmental beautification programs, summer jobs programs, school scholarships, soundproofing and economic development programs. For this anniversary, Massport has strung a banner across the toll plaza on the upper level of the bridge. A series of historic photographs taken during construction of the bridge will be shared with the communities. Photo display availabilities will be made throughout the year and will be announced in advance.