MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey and Highway Administrator Frank DePaola today detailed final preparations underway to support the closure of the Callahan Tunnel and urged the public to become familiar with both the designated detour routes and the public transit options to reach East Boston and Logan Airport from Downtown Boston.
“MassDOT is better staging our jobs, using technology and incentivizing contractors in a way to help limit the impacts infrastructure projects have on the public,” said Secretary Davey. “To supplement our efforts, we need the public to be our partners in this long overdue rehabilitation and learn about the detours and use public transit when possible.”
On average, the Callahan Tunnel carries 30,000 vehicles per day. Three main detour routes have been established to handle that volume traveling to East Boston through the Ted Williams Tunnel/Massachusetts Turnpike Eastbound, over the Tobin Bridge, or for motorists coming from points north– along Route 16 East to 1A South. Along Route 16, MassDOT has improved the signal timing to accommodate the additional vehicles. In addition, commercial vehicle only restrictions have been lifted on the eastbound South Boston Bypass Haul Road and sections of the High Occupancy Vehicle only lane restrictions have been lifted to assist motorists with access to the Ted Williams Tunnel to Logan Airport, East Boston and points in the North Shore.
The MBTA is expanding the hours of the Blue Line Bowdoin Station stop to accommodate customers on weekdays & Saturdays from 5:15AM to 12:30AM and on Sundays from 6:15AM to 12:30AM. On the Blue Line, during weekday evenings, MBTA officials will add one train between 6:30PM and 1:00AM in order to increase the frequency of service. On the Silver Line 1, the MBTA will add one bus weekdays between 7:00AM-4:00PM and 6:30PM-10:00PM to maintain service reliability with increased congestion expected in the Ted Williams Tunnel.
The $19.3 million rehabilitation of the Callahan includes the replacement of the deck, curbing and wall panels. McCourt Construction is the contractor for the closure scheduled from December 27, 2013 at 11pm through March 12, 2014. The contractor may earn $71K per day for each day finished early for up to four- weeks for a total of $2 million; there is a loss of $71K per day for each day late beyond March 12.
Installation is already underway of the new orange and black detour signs which will be unveiled late this week. On Thursday night, sign installation will require the complete closure of Interstate 93 Southbound through Boston from 11pm to 5am. Traffic will be detoured off of the highway at Exit 28 in Somerville onto surface streets and allowed to re-enter I-93 Southbound at the Haymarket on-ramp. Traffic destined for Logan Airport and East Boston will follow the posted detour via 93 Southbound Exit 18 and the Ted Williams Tunnel.
Message boards and cameras are now located at key intersections around the city. The message boards will display detour routes and relay traffic conditions along those routes. Several of the boards, depending upon live traffic conditions, will suggest the best detour route to East Boston at that time.
MassDOT will be sharing its technology and resources with its partners at the City, with law enforcement and Massport, who were all on hand for today’s briefing, to look for any adjustments that might be needed to improve traffic flow. Fire and EMS will stage additional services in East Boston to mitigate any delays emergency services might face following the prescribed detours. Police detail officers will be deployed to support the detours.
Public outreach on the closure has been extensive and will continue. There have been more than 50 meetings with stakeholders, including the business community, traffic reporters, members of the hospitality industry and general public. MassDOT is using its 511 traffic system, electronic message boards, postings at various MassDOT properties, video messages at select RMV branches, toll collector handouts and handouts at Logan rental car centers to communicate the news of the closure.