Road Work on MassPike Starts Soon, Impacts Travel Through Late August

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The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) sent out a reminder to travelers that due to the upcoming Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Replacement Project, I-90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike) will be reduced from four lanes to three lanes in each direction in Boston between the Allston Interchange and the Beacon Street Overpass beginning on the evening of Friday, July 7. 

After July 7 and until August 28, lane reductions will be necessary and MassDOT will strive to make lane shift decisions in the best way possible to lessen the impact on drivers using the highway.

The reduction to three lanes in each direction on July 7 is necessary in order to allow for logistical setups for the replacement of the Commonwealth Bridge over I-90. Crews on July 7 will begin to use the non-travel lanes areas to safely build a crane and place major equipment in the median of I-90.

“Travelers are advised that I-90 in Boston will be reduced to three lanes in each direction for 24/7 beginning on Friday, July 7 so our crews can begin putting in place the necessary equipment and logistics for the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Replacement Project,” said Acting Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “We appreciate the cooperation and patience of the traveling public and we encourage people to consider alternative modes of transportation. Mass transit travel is encouraged although the public should check www.mbta.com for schedule information since MBTA bus routes, the Green Line B trolley and the commuter rail in this area will be impacted by construction work later in July and August.”

The upcoming impacts on I-90 in this area as result of this project are as follows:

  • I-90 reduced to three lanes in each direction in this area at all times starting Friday, July 7.
  • I-90 reduced to two lanes in each direction in this area during peak periods between Friday, July 28 and Monday, August 7.
  • I-90 increased to three lanes in each direction in this area on Monday, August 7.
  • I-90 returns to four lanes in each direction in this area by Monday, August 28.

The Commonwealth Avenue Bridge project will result in significant service impacts to all modes of transportation in the Boston University/Saint Paul Street neighborhood of Boston along Commonwealth Avenue, for Amtrak, MBTA, and commuter rail customers, BU Bridge vehicles and on I-90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike).

Detours and transit shuttles will be necessary for some station stops on the MBTA’s Green Line B Branch, MBTA Bus Routes CT2 and 47, the Worcester Commuter Rail Line, and Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited route. The impacts on all modes of transportation are a necessary part of having the MassDOT contractor work continuous shifts 24 hours a day and utilize Accelerated Bridge Construction techniques in order to reduce overall construction duration, minimize the impact on the traveling public and local community, and improve safety.

This project, which would take an estimated four to five years using conventional techniques with significant lane-takings and service disruptions, is scheduled for completion in 2019 under the accelerated plans, with future construction activities and service impacts expected in the summer of 2018. The project will replace the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge superstructure and add functional and safety improvements to Commonwealth Avenue, such as additional dedicated bike lanes and extensive pedestrian pathway improvements.

The full project impacts will be as follows:

I-90 (Massachusetts Turnpike)

  • I-90 between the Allston Interchange and the Beacon Street Overpass will be reduced to three lanes in both the eastbound and westbound directions beginning on the evening of Friday, July 7 to allow for preparation operations, major equipment to be put in place for the construction activities starting later in the month, and a crane to be built in the median of I-90.
  • I-90 between the Allston Interchange and the Beacon Street Overpass will be reduced to two lanes in both the eastbound and westbound directions during peak periods from 9:00 p.m. on Friday, July 28, through 5:00 a.m. on Monday, August 7. The eastbound on-ramp from Cambridge Street will be closed and the westbound Exit 20 off-ramp will also be closed at different periods of time.
  • Throughout the construction activities from 9:00 p.m. on Friday, July 28, through 5:00 a.m. on Monday, August 7, a “crossover” will be in place on I-90 using traffic channelization equipment, such as zipper barrier, line striping, and variable message boards to direct traffic to one side of the highway.
  • From 9:00 p.m. on Friday, July 28, through 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 2 both eastbound and westbound traffic will be on the westbound side of I-90. From 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 2 through 5:00 a.m. on Monday, August 7 both eastbound and westbound traffic will be on the eastbound side of I-90. This “crossover” is necessary to allow MassDOT crews and its contractor to conduct construction activities on the bridge above I-90.
  • I-90 between the Allston Interchange and the Beacon Street Overpass will then be opened to three lanes in both the eastbound and westbound directions from 5:00 a.m. on Monday, August 7, through 5:00 a.m. on Monday, August 28 to allow the safe removal of major equipment and construction logistics from the work zone.
  • By Monday, August 28, I-90 will return to its full four lane configuration in each direction after the conclusion of these removal activities.

Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and Boston University Bridge (Local Traffic)

  • Commonwealth Avenue eastbound and westbound will be closed to through private vehicular traffic between Brighton Avenue/Packard’s Corner and Kenmore Square from 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 27, through 5:00 a.m. on Monday, August 14. Access through this area will be maintained for local businesses and customers, residents, MBTA buses, emergency services, pedestrians, and bicyclists during this time.
  • The Commonwealth Avenue and Boston University (BU) Bridge will be closed to non-emergency and non-transit motor vehicles from7:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 27, through 5:00 a.m. on Monday, August 14. Access will be maintained for MBTA buses, emergency services, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

MBTA Service Impacts

  • Buses will replace rail service on the MBTA Green Line B Branch from Babcock Street to Blandford Street Stations from 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 26, through 5:00 a.m. on Monday, August 14.  The MBTA will be providing regular service updates to customers.
  • The MBTA Route 47 and CT2 buses will detour from their normal routes and potentially experience delays from 7:00 p.m. onThursday, July 27, through 5:00 a.m. on Monday, August 14. Users of the Route 57 bus should also expect possible delays during this time period.
  • The MBTA’s Worcester Commuter Rail Line will not operate trains between South Station and the Boston Landing Commuter Rail Station on the weekends of July 29-30 and August 5-6. Bus shuttles will run for Worcester Commuter Rail Line customers between the Boston Landing Commuter Rail Station and the MBTA’s Reservoir Station on the Green Line D Branch during these weekends.
  • Bus service will be provided between the Boston Landing Commuter Rail Station and the Yawkey Station during Boston Red Sox games.

Amtrak Service Impacts

  • Buses will replace Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited line service between Albany, New York, and South Station on the weekends of July 29-30 and August 5-6.

Memorial Drive in Cambridge

  • MassDOT has requested that the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) allow vehicular traffic on Memorial Drive in Cambridge on Sunday, July 30, and Sunday, August 6 to minimize impacts on local roadways and allow for reliable travel throughout the area.

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. Avoid traveling through the area, if at all possible
  • REROUTE – Plan alternative travel routes around this construction area
  • REMODE – Consider using alternate modes of transportation including public transit, walking or biking.

Individuals are encouraged to sign up for email notices to receive public meeting notices, construction updates and traffic alerts. The Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Replacement Project website also contains specific details and maps and individuals can contact MassDOT with questions at: CommAveBridge@dot.state.ma.us.

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