BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Starting on Friday, restoration work on the Sumner Tunnel leading into Boston from the north begins, marking the simultaneous start of shutdowns for the next 36 weekends. Over the summer, the tunnel will close on Fridays at 11 p.m. and reopen on Mondays at 5 a.m, in between which work will be taking place 24/7. The work comes 87 years into the tunnel's lifespan, with the construction projected to come to conclude at the end of 2023.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, preliminary work on the first weekend will focus on the removal of area of asphalt pavement, formwork in plenums, concrete chipping for wall repairs, and ventilation testing. Officials say some tourists and residents in the North End may even feel vibrations of the weekend work from time to time.
MassDOT says they're not taking the closures lightly, acknowledging that the project will inevitably lead to detours and delays for North-of-Boston and East Boston commuters, and for passengers driving to Boston Logan International Airport. Next year, between May and September, there will be full closures during which traffic will be completely diverted.
Officials have supplied a number of detour options for specific commutes, but also encouraged residents to use public transit options during Sumner Tunnel closures.
WBZ's Madison Rogers spoke to some residents around Boston's North End about the construction endeavor.
"Get ready for a tough summer, get ready for a lot of people that'll be upset— a lot of horns beeping and a pretty uncomfortable situation for people dining outdoors," said restaurant owner Frank DePasquale.
Others were not so bothered by the work, and said it the restoration had to be completed anyway.
"You live in the moment, basically that's what you're doing. That's needed to be done for years," a resident said.
WBZ's Madison Rogers (@madisonrogers) reports.