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Commuters Hit With First Comm Ave Bridge Replacement Disruptions

BOSTON (CBS) -- The morning rush became more frustrating for Boston commuters Thursday.

he first morning commute with new closures near the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge replacement project in place.

Boston Transit Police were ushering passengers from the Green Line to Peter Pan buses. That's because the "B" branch of the Green Line is shut down from Babcock to Blandford Street as construction to replace the Commonwealth Avenue bridge gets underway.

MassDOT officials say that even though five years of planning have gone into the project, they're still warning commuters to simply avoid the area.

For a full breakdown of the project's times, dates, and impact, click here

One commuter said he was late for work on the first day of the project.

"I had to email my boss and tell him I was going to be late," the commuter said.

Another commuter said that if there is a bright spot, it's that the work is being done when schools are on summer break.

"It's good they're doing it before BU starts at least but it really puts a damper on the rest of us trying to get to work," the commuter said.

Officials said that, if you can't stay away, you should give yourself extra time and go in with a plan.

"I'm gonna brace myself, wake up early, figure it out," one commuter told WBZ-TV's Anna Meiler. "Probably Uber if I have to, but that's really the plan."

"We have approximately 30 vehicles running back and forth, so we've been able to accommodate all our passengers," said Interim MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak during a press conference. "Right now, this is the tough part of it--vehicular traffic is going to be cut off, so it's going to be a little bit easier."

Starting Thursday at 7 p.m., Comm Ave from Packard's Corner to Kenmore Square, as well as the BU Bridge, will be closed to vehicles.

Later Thursday, some MBTA bus lines will be detoured.

Even those on foot have felt the first changes.

"I can't even take the route I walk home," one person who lives nearby said. "They've closed off this sidewalk, so I have to cross the street, and it's always a pain."

On Friday, the Mass Pike will be squeezed even tighter with more lane reductions after 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.

Alternating sides of the Pike will be reduced to one lane of travel in Boston. On the first weekend of the project, traffic inbound to city is being reduced to one lane, with outbound traffic restricted to two lanes. That will be flipped the next weekend, with inbound traffic restricted to two lanes and outbound to one lane.

The disruptions are expected to last until August 14--but phase 2 of the project will start next summer, to replace the outbound side of the bridge.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker reports

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