Crews working on the rehabilitation of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge that runs over the Massachusetts Turnpike in Boston opened the toll road back up to its preconstruction traffic pattern on Aug. 7, nearly three weeks earlier than originally planned.
The project to replace the deteriorating 52-year-old bridge that began in earnest on July 26 is still expected to snarl traffic on local roads and the MBTA’s Green Line B-Branch and bus routes right up to its originally scheduled completion date (Aug. 14), but reopening all four lanes of the Turnpike in both directions on Monday was welcome news for commuters.
The Turnpike—which sees between 128,000 and 145,000 drivers traveling beneath the bridge on Massachusetts I-90 each day—was reduced to three lanes in each direction on July 7. It was then further reduced to two or one lane of travel from July 28 to Aug. 7.
MassDOT credited opening the lanes ahead of schedule to “progress made in installing the new steel beams and adjustments to the equipment removal plans,” according to a press release. Only short-term and periodic lane reductions will be implemented during off-peak hours for the remainder of the project.
“The hard work of our crews and contractors is allowing us to meet this important milestone ahead of schedule and open all four lanes in each direction on I-90 in Boston in time for the Monday morning commute,” MassDOT Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack said in a statement. “Our team has designed this major construction project in a way that considers the needs of the traveling public, as well as residents of the Greater Boston area, and we are pleased with the progress of work so far.”
In a statement, Acting MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said, “MassDOT’s engineering and construction staff have been working closely with the contractor throughout this project and we collaboratively modified the sequencing of key work to create opportunities for removing the 440-ton crane on the Pike more efficiently than originally planned.
“This is an important but interim milestone and while we are pleased with the progress of construction so far we still have much work to do to complete our operations this summer.”