Second phase of Comm Ave Bridge construction project to cause delays this summer

The westbound side of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge will be demolished and replaced this summer, so officials are warning residents of the travel impacts.
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The second phase of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge replacement project will occur this summer, causing some travel delays. Photo: Getty Images

Boston communities will have to prepare for another set of “significant” travel delays this summer as the second phase of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge construction project rolls out.

 

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced on Monday that “intensive” construction will take place from July 26 through August 11 as the westbound side of the bridge is replaced.

 

The 15-and-a-half day construction operation is part of an ongoing $110 million bridge replacement project. Last summer, construction was done for 20 days to demolish and replace the eastbound side of the bridge and the Green Line infrastructure.

 

This summer, all modes of transportation in the Boston University/Saint Paul Street neighborhood along Commonwealth Avenue will be impacted by the construction, officials said.

 

That includes the MBTA, commuter rail and Amtrak, vehicles that drive along Commonwealth Avenue and the Boston University Bridge and traffic on the Massachusetts Turnpike. Travel over the bridge for cyclists and pedestrians could also be impacted, though those commuters will have full access on the eastbound side throughout construction.

Detours and shuttle trains will be necessary, the transportation department said, for some stations on the Green Line B branch, MBTA Bus Routes CT2 and 47, the Worcester Commuter Rail Line and Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited route.

“Avoid unnecessary travel if possible,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver, according to CBS. “If you don’t have to be here, you should be someplace else, it is going to be a very very difficult three weeks as we go through this construction process.”

Commonwealth Avenue between Packard’s Corner and Kenmore Square will be closed to drivers for the entire 15 and a half days, from 7 p.m. July 26 to 5 a.m. August 11.

The BU Bridge will also be closed to vehicular and bus traffic during the same time period, open only for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The Massachusetts Turnpike between the Allston Interchange and the Beacon Street Overpass will be reduced to two lanes in each direction during peak hours from 9:00 p.m. July 27 to 5:00 a.m. August 6. This area will then decrease to one lane in each direction during off-peak, weekend and overnight hours.

Some traffic snags will come earlier, though. MassDOT will conduct a “dry run” of the Mass Pike logistics on the weekend of June 1 to 3, meaning that during those days, I-90 will be down to two lanes in each direction, the eastbound on-ramp from Cambridge Street/Soldiers Field Road will be closed the entire time and the westbound Exit 20 off-ramp to Brighton/Cambridge will be closed intermittently.

The pike will return to four lanes in both directions 5 a.m. August 6, officials said.

More information on how construction will impact travel can be found online and MassDOT is encouraging the public to use mass511.com, the GoTime travel app and other resources to plan their routes during construction.

Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Replacement by the numbers

Total cost: $110 million
Length: 15 and a half days in summer 2018
Officials say this would normally take four to five years using conventional techniques, but an accelerated plan shortens construction time
Tools: 3 cranes that weigh 600 tons each will put in 45 steel beams and 214 pre-fabricated concrete deck panels