Watch CBS News

New timeline released for Sumner Tunnel closure in Boston this summer

Rehab of Sumner Tunnel promised to be one month shorter than last year
Rehab of Sumner Tunnel promised to be one month shorter than last year 02:18

BOSTON - The full closure of the Sumner Tunnel this summer won't last as long as it did last year, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced Tuesday.

The tunnel is set to close completely on July 5 and reopen no later than Aug. 5.

East Boston residents dread closure

For decades Meridian Market in East Boston has served its customers like clockwork - until last summer when the Sumner Tunnel closed. Delivery driver John Mellone said things weren't so smooth.

"It was horrible. It was just traffic everywhere. So hard to get around," Mellone said remember the two-month closure of the tunnel. "It's at least three, four, five times longer to get from start to finish." 

"Good news" on Sumner Tunnel construction schedule

"The good news is that this closure will be one month shorter than last year," Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt said. 

In the summer of 2023, the nearly 100-year-old tunnel was closed for two months as crews repaired the ceiling and walls. Phase 2 will focus on rehabilitating the driving deck, which is the surface of the tunnel. 

The work will extend the safe service life of the tunnel for at least another 50 years.

"Intense" traffic impact still expected in Boston

Highway administrator Jonathan Gulliver said MassDOT was able to schedule work that doesn't require a full tunnel shutdown for additional weekend closures that will happen in the fall.

While the full closure period will be shorter, Gulliver stressed that East Boston residents and Logan Airport travelers will still experience significant disruption.

"We still expect impacts for this project to be intense this summer," he said.

Travel alternatives during Sumner Tunnel closure

Like last year, there are a range of options and discounts for travelers during the tunnel closure.

There will be discounted tolls on the Tobin Bridge and Ted Williams tunnel for those registered in the Resident Discount program. The MBTA Blue Line will be free for all riders, and MBTA ferries will have free or reduced fares. The Commuter Rail will also have lower fares on the Newburyport-Rockport Line.  

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.