When the Deck really was just a deck



I-93 ripped through a residential area.

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A somewhat forgotten fact about the Lower Deck

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is that there was great reluctance to open the road to traffic once it was completed in mid-1972. As I recall the story, most traffic models completed at the time predicted that the "weave" section over the Charles River between the Tobin Bridge, Storrow Drive, the Central Artery (I-95 at the time) and I-695 (now the I-93 upper/lower deck) would immediately fail and create gridlock for miles in all directions if the new road were opened.

In fact, the PBS dobumentary Divided Highways (not the series Point Of View episode Taken for a Ride - sorry about the wrong reference), which discusses the rise of highway construction and the demise of public transportation in the inner cities in the 1950s and 1960s, included a portion of an old ABC News segment about this very issue.

However, all that changed on September 10th, 1973, when an overloaded gravel truck took out a major support column on the Tobin Bridge, shutting down the bridge for about four months. The day after the partial bridge collapse, the new I-695 (now I-93) roads were opened to traffic.

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