BOSTON (WHDH) - MassDOT crews led a tour inside the Sumner Tunnel Tuesday, discussing progress being made as the tunnel’s two-month closure for a series of repairs continues.
The tunnel shut down on July 5. Speaking this week, project managers said the project is on track to meet its Aug. 31 deadline to reopen the tunnel.
“I think there’s some extra work that the contractor’s dealing with, but I wouldn’t call it unforeseen,” said MassDOT District 6 Highway Director John McInerney.
Asked if there’s any chance that the project would not be complete by the end of August, McInerney responded.
“I’m going to say no,” he said.
The tunnel is closed as part of a larger project involving repairs to the tunnel ceiling, roadway, walls and lightning.
McInerney said crews have been working on both sides of the tunnel, which connects East Boston to downtown Boston.
“We have set work that needs to be completed by Aug. 31 to open up the tunnel for safety,” he said.
Project managers said they have been installing 16 new pre-cast arches per day throughout the tunnel as crews continue to work to meet the Aug. 31 deadline.
Ultimately, 780 new arches will be put in place, aiming to reinforce the tunnel’s aging structure and help with ventilation.
“You’ll have better lines of sight within the tunnel,” one crew member said. “We thought it was a better design than what they had.”
Roughly 39,000 people use the Sumner Tunnel each day.
Administrators now hope ongoing repairs on the nearly 90-year-old structure will improve its climate resiliency, making the tunnel safer to use for drivers who depend on it.
“It’s getting tired and it gives us an opportunity to bring it up to code,” McInerney said.
As crews continue to work, traffic is being diverted through Everett, Route One and the Ted Williams Tunnel.
Officials have urged would-be motorists to “ditch the drive” while the tunnel is closed and utilize public transportation.
See more information on alternate travel options here.
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