Callahan Tunnel closes tomorrow night - for 2 1/2 months

MassDOT has a site to explain the rehab work, which will be followed by 11 months of nighttime and off-hours work.

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Can't wait for Fridays

My Friday evening commutes are longer with the Tobin wide open than with the lane restrictions. Toss in a Callahan closure and things probably aren't too pretty.

I may have to use the 108 bus instead of the 426 on Friday nights.

Here's hoping for an efficient work schedule, and everything gets shored up well.

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Not neccessarily

Expect Kneeland Street to become a parking lot due to people trying to access the Ted Williams from there. Expect the normal afternoon backup in the Ted Williams entering the airport to start around two PM instead of four PM, and finally, expect to see a lot of hubcaps on the side of the road in the Chelsea produce market.

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Where

I imagine people who work downtown, or in Cambridge/Somerville/Medford who live in Eastie, Winthrop, Revere, or Lynn may hook right into the Callahan or shoot down 93 and into the Callahan. Now they'll take the Alford St Bridge (already a construction-zone bottleneck), US-1 (backed up from the Copeland Circle lane-drop to Chelsea curve on Friday evenings), and MA-16 (that's already a cluster of epic proportions on normal days, that road sucks).

Often enough though, SwirlyGrrl,

when the traffic is backed up in one place, it's backed up in other places, due to drivers desperately trying to avoid the back-up of motor vehicular traffic in a certain place by taking an alternate route or routes, hence causing back-ups in the alternate route(s) as well, and creating an unheavenly mess, everywhere in the general vicinity of the original site of the backing up of traffic.

Ha ha ha!

All brontosauruses are thin at one end, much, much thicker in the middle, and then thin again at the far end.

No shit, SwirlyBabe! I know that better than you do!

hehe.

I93 South Closing???

Boston.com has a headline of I93 South closing on Friday night, but then the article indicates the road closure is tonight (date of article is 12/26) but then in the next sentence mentions Friday night. There is no press release or news about the closure on the DOT website. Anyone know if or if not I93 South will be detoured onto city streets and if so will it be tonight or Friday?

I-93 South to close overnight for installation of signs alerting drivers of impending Callahan Tunnel closure
By Melissa Hanson / Globe Correspondent / December 26, 2013

Drivers trying to enter Boston from the north tonight will have to detour onto surface streets because Interstate 93 South will be closed in Somerville, officials said.

The highway will be closed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday to allow workers to prepare for the 2½-month closure of the Callahan Tunnel, the Department of Transportation said in a statement

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Thanks... but

Thanks Pumpkinhead, rereading the second sentence it does make sense that the author of the article was indiating 5 am Friday morning. However, on the home page on Boston.com made me really think it would be closed on Friday night.

HEADLINE:
I-93S to close Friday night in Somerville

SUBTEXT:
The highway will be closed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday to allow workers to prepare for the 2½-month closure of the Callahan Tunnel, the Department of Transportation said in a statement

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Hour long shouting match in my office about tunnels in Boston

Some highlights

Person 1: They're closing the EXPRESSWAY for two months?
Person 2: No. The Callahan tunnel is not the expressway.
Person 3: Well what's the tunnel under the expressway called?
Person 2: It's called "the expressway." I-93. The Big Dig.
Person 1: But what's the name of the tunnel?
Person 2: THE EXPRESSWAY. There is no special name for it.

(Same characters as the above discussion)
Person 1: Wait, there are two tunnels next to each other? What's the difference between the Callahan Tunnel and the Sumner Tunnel?
Person 2: One goes TO the airport and the other one goes FROM the airport.
Person 1: I'm telling you, the Callahan tunnel is the expressway!

Officemates now gathered around a computer in one of their cubes looking at google maps
Person A: What's that third tunnel going to the airport?
Person B: It's the Ted Williams Tunnel.
(Timeout for a discussion of who Ted Williams was)
Person C: Yeah, during the Big Dig they built out the Mass Pike to go to the airport and some of it is under the water, so it's a tunnel.
Person D: The Mass Pike starts down near South Station.
Person C: No. It goes to the airport now.
Person D: No it doesn't! *looks at map* Oh, look at that! It does!

When I say SHOUTING MATCH I mean shouting and finger pointing and lots of "No, you're wrong!" type statements I've left out. The worst part is that these are women in their 30s and 40s who have lived in and around Boston their entire lives.

I'm no psychic but I predict a lot of missed flights in the next couple of months.

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Missed Flights?

Perhaps you should let them know about another tunnel to the airport. You know, the one with a portal near your office? It is called the Blue Line,

;-)

Another pro-tip: Leave the office 2.5 hours before a flight, and it won't be a problem.

It's not feasible now because of how

the connecting ramps on the Boston side from the Sumner Tunnel to I-93 and the local street network were rebuilt as part of the Big Dig. There is a ramp that could be used to allow emergency vehicles to get to East Boston through the Sumner Tunnel, but it would be highly impractical to allow regular traffic to use it because of the configuration.

Additionally, think about what allowing two-way traffic in the Sumner on a long-term basis (if it could be done) would do for people trying to get into Boston.

Points taken. However,

take a closer look at that emergency ramp and how it relates to the general street network in the North End/Haymarket Square area, not to mention the "crossover" area at the East Boston toll plaza that traffic would need to use to get back to the proper side of the highway upon exiting the tunnel. Now consider the volume of traffic that would be using both the emergency ramp and the crossover on a daily basis if you made the Sumner two-way.

Additionally, implementing a long term operation - and running two way traffic through the Sumner Tunnel continuously for more than a few hours at a time (unlike what was routinely done prior to the Big Dig) - is considered long-term, would require more substantial separation between lanes than just using traffic cones, which would make the lanes in the tunnel even narrower than they are already. This would further slow traffic down, and might also require prohibiting certain vehicles from using the tunnel as well.

Plus, it's highly likely that the capacity gain you'd get for traffic leaving Boston would be more than offset by the capacity reduction you'd incur for traffic coming into Boston. As for the potential to gridlock local streets on the Boston side of the Sumner, that is also a very real possibility.

Lastly, it's my understanding that, early in the planning process for the rehab, MassDOT briefly considered making the Sumner Tunnel two-way, but dismissed it mostly for the reasons I've stated.

Design for Disaster

Additionally, implementing a long term operation - and running two way traffic through the Sumner Tunnel continuously for more than a few hours at a time (unlike what was routinely done prior to the Big Dig) - is considered long-term, would require more substantial separation between lanes than just using traffic cones, which would make the lanes in the tunnel even narrower than they are already. This would further slow traffic down, and might also require prohibiting certain vehicles from using the tunnel as well.

Bingo. How long would it be before Johnny or Suzie Masshole would pass on the wrong side at high speed and cause a fiery head-on wreck that would result in a second long-term tunnel closing?

I'm betting that it would happen within two or three weeks.

Boston has built one far more useful tunnel since these two tunnels were new. That should be enough for a couple of months.

It's too bad they made it so

It's too bad they made it so hard to get from I-93 southbound to the Ted Williams. (Or from 93 northbound to the Callahan, for that matter.) They should have anticipated construction and other closures which would require detouring to the other tunnel.

"made it so hard"?

Well, they didn't make it that way - they avoided disrupting layer upon layer of utility corridors, transit, railway, and highway systems.

It is a pretty congested, complicated area if you look at a map. Those maps don't also show the sewage tunnels, the electrical wiring, pipelines for gas, etc.

This should give you some idea of what was involved with these projects in an old city like Boston: http://www.profsurv.com/magazine/article.aspx?i=783

Check out the section on building the connecting tunnels, here: http://www.bostonroads.com/crossings/ted-williams/

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HEALTH IMPACTS TO EASTIE &

HEALTH IMPACTS TO EASTIE & NORTH END RESIDENTS REGARDING CALLAHAN TUNNEL REPAIRS !!! Now should Eastie residents be concerned, you bet your ass..55 years of Dust and god knows what kinds of other dust are in between the walls , while they replace the layers of wall of that Tunnel. Could be Asbestos !!!!

Check the environmental filings with the DEP

The workers also have to be protected, and they will be getting way more exposure to anything in there. Go to http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/highway/HighlightedProjects/CallahanTunne... for a clear explanation of their activities. http://www.env.state.ma.us/mepa/emonitor.aspx has more information available.

Note that they are repairing and cleaning for the most part, and repaving. None of that involves bulk removal of material likely to contain asbestos (not stripping the tile or fireproofing). They are using wet processes for the dust that is being cleaned out ... that means the particles won't be airborne and that's why most of the mitigation has to do with wastewater. They will be removing the top four inches of pavement and replacing the curb system, but this is no different from a surface project.

The alternative to renovation is closing the tunnel, which would definitely have long-term impacts due to increased car exhaust in the local airshed. At least this closure is in the winter months when the overall air pollution levels tend to be lower.

Of course, the time to be concerned and ask these questions and get the answers they deserve was months ago when they were publishing the envionmental impact documents for comment ...