Photo Courtesy of MassDOT
Callahan Tunnel, showing wear and tear after 52 years, will close for extensive repairs.

Boston's Callahan Tunnel, which connects the city's North End to Logan International Airport and state Route 1A in East Boston, will close for three months for rehabilitation beginning in December, the Massachusetts Dept. Transportation announced last month.

The $34.9-million project, out for bid on June 29, includes the rehabilitation of the 52-year-old tunnel's deck, curb line and gutters and replacement of its wall panels, according to MassDOT. Also, testing will be done on the existing adhesive anchors supporting the ceiling panels.

In December, crews removed 123 deteriorated wall panels after one panel fell; there were no injuries. In January, crews removed all 2,800 panels due to significant corrosion to the panel-wall anchor system, MassDOT stated.

The agency has recorded a sharp uptick of problems in the tunnel recently. "Every aspect of the tunnel is in fair to poor condition, and the time has come to put the Callahan in shape to last another 50 years," said MassDOT's highway administrator, Frank DePaola.

Following three months of full tunnel closure with detours, there will be another four to five months of work requiring overnight closures, DePaola said.

MassDOT's contract states that the contractor can earn or lose $71,000 per day in incentives or disincentives if the project goes under or over its anticipated construction time.

The Callahan repair will pose a challenge for MassDOT, since the Longfellow Bridge construction is scheduled to begin next month. The planned two-year closure for the rehab of the Government Center Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority station follows in the fall.