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East Boston businesses brace for impact of Sumner Tunnel closure

East Boston businesses feel isolated by closure of Sumner Tunnel
East Boston businesses feel isolated by closure of Sumner Tunnel 01:54

EAST BOSTON - The Sumner Tunnel will close for the summer on July 5. East Boston businesses are bracing for the impact, while construction crews gear up to work on the tunnel.

The Sumner already shutters on the weekends for those crews to get to work. East Boston restaurants say they have seen a drop in customers since it began. Pazza on Porter sits right next to the Sumner entrance. The majority of their customers show up by Uber. On weekends, they often see Uber drivers avoiding the area completely.

"They just cancel the trip. They wait an hour to get an Uber because no one comes here," said Camilo Acuna, General Manager of the Bocamici Group, owners of Pazza on Porter.

Last year the group opened Next Door, a speakeasy that is fittingly next door to Pazza.

"When we opened Next Door that is attracting a lot of people. We already are suffering on the weekends when they close [the Sumner]. We have a lot of people coming late because they have to come around Everett," Acuna said. "We feel it more because the speakeasy is a new thing, so a lot of people want to know. Speakeasys are now a thing. People want to come here, but it's hard."

There is good news, Blue Line trains will be free during the closure.

East Boston neighbors have been complaining about the shutdown of a key entrance near Bennington and Neptune. It's left people driving almost to Revere to work around it.

State Rep Adrian Madaro says there will be signs for a new detour that will take drivers onto an airport service road. This will spit drivers out near that entrance. The hope is this will allow for better traffic in and out of East Boston. 

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