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image004-5MassDOT today announced that I-90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike) in Boston is now open to its full capacity of four lanes in each direction and all on and off-ramps are now open, a milestone for the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Project that has been achieved approximately 24 hours ahead of schedule.

“We are pleased that our crews have been able to open the Mass Pike to its full capacity a day early and provide relief to commuters throughout the Boston region for peak travel hours,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “This is an important interim milestone for this major bridge replacement project, but members of the public should recognize that our intensive construction work is continuing 24/7 in the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge area. Local roadway and transit impacts remain in place, and there will be lane closures on I-90 during overnight off-peak hours, so it is essential to keep making smart decisions on travel and plan trips in advance.”

I-90 was reduced to one or two lanes of travel in each direction on the evening of Friday, July 27, and was scheduled to re-open to its full capacity by 5 a.m., Monday, August 6. The achievement of this milestone means that I-90 will be open to its full capacity of four lanes in each direction in Boston during peak commuting hours. Off-peak and overnight lane closures will continue to be necessary throughout the coming weeks as crews conduct finishing work.

Work has also progressed so that the standard closure of Memorial Drive in Cambridge to vehicular travel for DCR’s Riverbend Park will be in place on Sunday, August 5. This closure takes place from 11 a.m., to 7 p.m., between Western Avenue and Mount Auburn Street.

All of the new steel beams have been installed on the westbound side of the Commonwealth Avenue bridge, along with several shorter new steel beams which serve as the foundation for travel lanes between the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and Boston University Bridge area. Today, crews will be placing concrete deck panels on the final span of the westbound side of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge. Work will also include “closure pours,” which consist of placing concrete that connects the precast deck panels together, and various other construction activities.

 

This $110 million bridge replacement 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. The westbound side of the bridge is being constructed this summer using 3 cranes that weigh 600 tons each. Crews are utilizing this equipment to put in place 45 steel beams and 214 pre-fabricated concrete deck panels along with 680 cubic yards of concrete and 520 tons of hot mix asphalt.

The full current travel impacts are 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.

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.

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.

MBTA Green B Line

  • The Green B Line will be replaced with shuttle buses between Babcock Street and Blandford Street Stations from 5:00 a.m. on July 27, to 5:00 a.m., on August 11. The MBTA will be providing regular service updates to customers.
  • During the Green Line bus diversions, the MBTA will also be continuing work to replace Green Line track throughout Commonwealth Avenue. These operations are not occurring on the bridge and will not impact logistics or the bridge replacement process. This track work has been closely coordinated with the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Replacement Project and is occurring at this time in order to minimize overall impacts on customers.

MBTA Commuter Rail

  • On the weekend of 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.).

MBTA Bus

  • MBTA Bus Routes CT2 and 47 will be detoured from their normal routes from 7:00 p.m. on July 26, to 5:00 a.m. on August 11. These detours are expanded from the 2017 detour routes due to the closure of the Boston University Bridge this summer to all vehicles including MBTA buses.
  • The Route 57 Bus will operate its normal route and will not make outbound stops in the construction area.

Amtrak 

  • Amtrak’s Lakeshore Limited Line will be replaced by shuttle buses between South Station and Albany, NY for the weekend of 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.

The Baker-Polito Administration appreciates the cooperation and patience of the traveling public as core transportation infrastructure is improved. Members of the public are encouraged to utilize the appropriate technology tools including mass511.com, our GoTime travel app, and other wayfinding resources to find the most appropriate route, mode, and timing of travel during our construction operations.

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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