MassDOT officials are warning commuters to prepare for a “hellish three weeks” as construction on the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge is set to start Friday.
Basically, “Stay away,’ advised Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack at a press conference on Tuesday.
The construction project will replace the eastbound bridge deck, on which motor vehicles and Green Line B branch trains travel. Under the bridge is the Massachusetts Turnpike, the Worcester/Framingham Commuter Rail Line and Amtrak tracks, which will also all be impacted by the project.
“If you don’t need to be here, don’t come anywhere near the area,” Pollack told reporters. “Number two, if you have to go through it, have a plan … This is really going to be disruptive to everyone who is on Commonwealth Avenue, on the Turnpike, uses the BU Bridge.”
T commuters will start seeing the effects beginning at 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 26, when shuttle buses will replace train service along the Green Line B branch between the Babcock Street and Blandford Street stops. There will be no T tracks over the bridge during the project, Pollack warned, as they will also be replaced.
For drivers, street closures begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 27, when the area of Commonwealth Avenue between Packard’s Corner and Kenmore Square will close to traffic through 5 a.m. on August 14.
On Friday night, the Mass Pike restrictions will start as alternating sides of I-90 are reduced to one lane of travel after 7 p.m. on weekdays and between 9 p.m. Fridays to 5 a.m. Mondays. The first weekend of the project will restrict inbound traffic to one lane and outbound to two, with the next weekend restricting outbound traffic to one lane and inbound to two.
For pedestrians and cyclists, there will be full access over the bridge on the westbound side and temporary signs will help them navigate any detours.
The project is expected to be one of the most disruptive projects the Highway Division has undertaken in a long time, said Acting Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver.
Workers are using an “accelerated bridge technique” which is more disruptive to traffic in the moment but will shorten the project’s length significantly, officials say. With normal techniques, the construction would take about five years. The first stage of the project is expected to be completed August 14.
Refer to MassDOT here for more information on how your commute may be affected.