Comm. Ave. bridge project moves forward, causes few headaches for commuters

BOSTON (WHDH/AP) — State transportation officials say the next phase of the Commonwealth Avenue bridge replacement project is moving forward and causing some travel impacts in and around Boston.

Monday marked the first weekday since the project was fully in swing. Backups were reported on the Massachusetts Turnpike, where the highway has been narrowed from four lanes down to two in the area of the construction.

Officials say crews were demolishing portions of the westbound side of the bridge and putting in new steel beams.

State highway administrator Jonathan Gulliver is repeating advice to commuters to seek alternative means of getting to and from the city through the duration of the two-week project.

“All traffic logistics and travel impacts are now in place, including local roadway closures, lane reductions on I-90, bus diversions for the MBTA Worcester/Framingham, Green Line B, and Amtrak Lake Shore Limited lines, and detours for certain MBTA bus routes,” Gulliver said. “We appreciate members of the public continuing to seek alternate routes and avoiding this area if possible, and making smart travel decisions.”

Green Line passengers will continue to board shuttle buses instead of trains between Babcock and Blanford Streets.

Runners, walkers, and bicyclists can access the eastbound side of the bridge during the project.

Crews repaired the eastbound side last summer. Officials plan to have the $111 million bridge project completed by Aug. 11.

The full upcoming travel impacts will be as follows:

Pedestrians and Bicyclists

  • Pedestrians and bicyclists will have access across the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge on the eastbound side throughout construction.
  • Download the Blue Bikes app on the App Store or Google Play to find a station near you. For a limited time, Blue Bikes is dropping their Single Trip Pass to $1 from July 26 – August 11, available in the Blue Bikes app.
  • MassDOT is also partnering with the City of Boston to provide an additional temporary Blue Bikes station at Silber Way on Commonwealth Ave during the construction period.
  • For more information, visit www.bluebikes.com.

Drivers

Commonwealth Avenue

  • Commonwealth Avenue (between Packard’s Corner and Kenmore Square) will be closed to vehicular through traffic (local access only) from 7:00 p.m. on July 26 to 5:00 a.m. on August 11.
  • Access through this area will be maintained for local businesses and customers, residents, MBTA buses, emergency services, pedestrians, and bicyclists during this time.
  • See the “Commonwealth Avenue Closure Detour” on the Traffic Management page.

Boston University (BU) Bridge

  • The BU Bridge will be closed to vehicular and bus traffic from 7:00 p.m. on July 26, to 5:00 a.m. on August 11. Access will be maintained for pedestrians and bicyclists only.
  • See the “Boston University (BU) Bridge Closure Detour” on the Traffic Management page

I-90 (Massachusetts Turnpike

  • From 9:00 p.m., on July 27, to 5:00 a.m., on August 6, I-90 (between the Allston Interchange and the Beacon Street Overpass in Boston) will have no more than two lanes open in each direction during peak hours.
  • I-90 in this area will be further reduced to one lane in each direction at various times during off-peak, weekend, and weekday overnight hours.
  • The I-90 eastbound on-ramp from Cambridge Street/Soldiers Field Road will be closed during this entire period.
  • The I-90 westbound Exit 20 off-ramp to Brighton/Cambridge will be closed intermittently.
  • I-90 will fully restored to four lanes in both directions at 5:00 a.m., on August 6.
  • See the “I-90 (Mass Pike) Ramp Closures Detour” on the Traffic Management page.

Memorial Drive

  • The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will allow vehicular traffic on Memorial Drive in Cambridge on Sunday, July 29, and Sunday, August 5, in order to minimize impacts on local roadways and allow for safe and reliable travel throughout the area.
  • DCR will add an additional Sunday closure of Memorial Drive in Cambridge this fall meaning vehicular traffic will not be allowed between Western Avenue and Mount Auburn Street from 11:00 a.m., to 7:00 p.m., on Sunday, November 18.

Sumner Tunnel

  • The additional “swing lane” on Route 1A southbound at the Sumner Tunnel will have extended hours so that it is opened at 3 p.m., on Friday, July 27, and will remain open through 5 a.m., Monday, July 30.
  • The swing lane will then be opened daily from 1 p.m., through 10 p.m., between Monday July 30, and Thursday, August 2.
  • The swing lane will also be opened at1 p.m., Friday, August 3, and will remain open through 5 a.m., Monday, August 6.

I-93 HOV Lane

  • The High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on I-93 between Boston and Quincy will be open during the normal morning hours of 5 a.m., through 10 a.m., from Monday, July 30, through Friday, August 3.
  • The HOV lane will open early for the afternoon commute at 2 p.m., from Monday, July 30, through Thursday, August 2, and will then open at 1 p.m., on Friday, August 3.

MBTA Commuter Rail

  • On the weekends of July 28-29 and August 4-5, bus shuttles will replace Commuter Rail service in this area.
  • Free bus shuttles will replace Commuter Rail train service between Framingham and Wellesley Farms. After Wellesley Farms, the shuttle bus will then continue nonstop to Riverside, where riders can connect to the Green D Line.
  • In addition to the local shuttles, express shuttle service will be available between Framingham and Riverside.
  • During Weekday Service between July 30, and August 10, the Worcester Line Train 552 that departs Worcester Station at 8 a.m. will stop at Framingham Station at 8:32 a.m.
  • The Worcester Line Train 551 that departs South Station at 7:35 p.m. will stop at Framingham Station at 8:08 p.m.
  • Commuters are encouraged to utilize free parking at the Framingham State College parking lot.  The MetroWest Regional Transit Authority will provide free shuttle bus service to and from Framingham State College in advance of the morning Framingham stop at 8:32 a.m., as well as all afternoon peak trains (beginning with the 3:30 p.m. train out of South Station, arriving in Framingham at 4:25 p.m., through the 7:35 p.m. Worcester express train from South Station, arriving in Framingham at 8:08 p.m.).

Amtrak

  • Amtrak’s Lakeshore Limited Line will be replaced by shuttle buses between South Station and Albany, NY for the weekends of July 28-29 and August 4-5.

MassDOT asks for the community’s help to reduce traffic volume in the area as much as possible. MassDOT encourages the public to consider:

  • REDUCE– Work with employers on flex time or telecommuting as an alternative to travel during this time period. Take your summer vacations during this time and avoid traveling through the area if at all possible
  • REROUTE– Plan alternative travel routes around this construction area during the times mentioned.
  • REMODE– Consider using alternate modes of transportation which may include public transit, walking or biking.

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