I-90 Restored to All 4 Lanes in Each Direction by 5:00 AM, Monday

Passing on a press release from MassDOT.


I-90 Restored to All 4 Lanes in Each Direction by 5:00 AM, Monday

Full I-90 lane restoration completed three weeks ahead of schedule

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced that crews will return I-90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike) in Boston to its normal configuration of four lanes of traffic in each direction by 5 a.m., Monday, August 7, almost three weeks faster than originally scheduled as part of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Project.

The schedule for completing the remaining construction work and the other travel impacts remain unchanged; crews are on schedule, and as detailed below, impacts to travel along Commonwealth Avenue and local roadways, as well as service impacts to the MBTA’s Green Line B-Branch and bus routes are expected to continue through Monday, August 14.

 “The hard work of our crews and contractors is allowing us to meet this important milestone ahead of schedule and open all four lanes in each direction on I-90 in Boston in time for the Monday morning commute,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “Our team has designed this major construction project in a way that considers the needs of the traveling public, as well as residents of the Greater Boston area, and we are pleased with the progress of work so far. We appreciate the continued support and patience of the traveling public and will continue to conduct our operations in ways that seek to minimize our impact on the local community and all those who travel throughout the Commonwealth Avenue/ Boston University region in Boston.”

“MassDOT’s engineering and construction staff have been working closely with the contractor throughout this project and we collaboratively modified the sequencing of key work to create opportunities for removing the 440-ton crane on the Pike more efficiently than originally planned,” said Acting Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “This change will lead to the return of I-90 to full capacity, which is four lanes in each direction, almost three weeks earlier than previously scheduled. This is an important but interim milestone and while we are pleased with the progress of construction so far we still have much work to do to complete our operations this summer.”

To allow for activities on the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Replacement Project, I-90 was reduced to three lanes in each direction on July 7, and was then further reduced to two or one lane of travel beginning on July 28 for MassDOT’s intensive construction operations. Crews were scheduled to return I-90 to four lanes of travel by August 28, however, due to progress made in installing the new steel beams and adjustments to the equipment removal plans, all four lanes of I-90 in each direction will be restored by 5 a.m. Monday. Crews will now only be implementing short-term and periodic lane reductions on I-90 during off-peak hours as needed to facilitate construction operations.

To summarize, the upcoming travel impacts on I-90 will be as follows:

  • Until 5:00 AM, Monday, August 7: One lane of travel open westbound, 2 lanes open eastbound, with occasional eastbound lane reductions if necessary in off-peak hours.
  • After 5:00 AM, Monday, August 7: All four lanes of travel open in each direction.
  • Until 5:00 AM, Monday, August 7: Exit 20 is closed for drivers seeking to exit I-90 west in Allston; these are drivers going to Storrow Drive/Cambridge Street.
  • After 5:00 AM, Monday, August 7: There will be periodic, off-peak lane reductions on I-90 for short-term durations as needed during construction operations.

Buses have replaced trains on the MBTA’s Worcester/Framingham Commuter Rail line between Boston Landing and South Station through the weekend and normal service is scheduled to resume on Monday, August 7.  This weekend, shuttle buses are running between Boston Landing and Reservoir Station on the Green Line. Outbound Framingham/Worcester trains will depart Boston Landing at their regularly scheduled weekend times. The MBTA Worcester/Framingham Commuter Rail Line will also run normal service and Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited trains will operate on a normal weekday schedule on Monday.

Members of the public are encouraged to check transit schedule information to learn about bus shuttles and regular service:  www.mbta.com.  In addition, MassDOT’s free app, GoTime, (www.MassDOTgotime.com), has real-time travel time to specific destinations on major roads in the state.  Other resources to learn of real-time information include the following Twitter accounts:  @MassDOT @MBTA and @MBTA_CR.

The Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Project has been years in the planning and logistics are being deployed in such a way as to best to shorten the length of time the work will impact the public.  MassDOT contractors will continue to work continuous shifts seven days a week and utilize Accelerated Bridge Construction techniques in order to reduce the overall construction duration and minimize the impact on travelers.

This project, which would take an estimated four to five years using conventional techniques with significant lane-takings and service disruptions, is scheduled for two short duration construction phases.  The eastbound side of the bridge deck of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and the MBTA Green Line B track area are being replaced between now and August 14 and in the summer of 2018, the westbound side of the bridge deck will be replaced.  In addition to a new bridge deck, the project will result in functional and safety improvements for vehicles, the B Line, for cyclists and for pedestrians.

The full project impacts of the Commonwealth Bridge Project are as follows:

For Pedestrians and Bicyclists:

  • Pedestrians and bicyclists are able to travel across a portion of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge on the westbound side throughout construction this summer.
  • Bicyclists heading in some directions will encounter occasional minor detour routes, such as, where they are able to cross Commonwealth Avenue. See the new “Bicycle Routes and Detours Map.”
  • Some areas of Commonwealth Avenue near the construction zone have jersey barriers and fencing to protect the public from heavy construction equipment which is deployed and sometimes moving along the road.
  • Due to safety and logistic reasons, the temporary mid-block crossing between Carlton Street and St. Mary’s Street has been closed. The western crosswalk at the Commonwealth Avenue/St. Mary’s intersection has been re-opened, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to cross Commonwealth Avenue at St. Mary’s Street under police detail control.
  • Eastbound bicyclists heading to the BU Bridge will cross Commonwealth Avenue at St. Paul Street to a shared bike/bus travel lane in the westbound roadway. Bicyclists continuing eastbound will cross back to eastbound Commonwealth Avenue at St. Mary’s Street.
  • Westbound bicyclists will continue to use the existing westbound bicycle lanes. There are no crossings between Amory Street and St. Mary’s Street.
  • As before, there will be portions of the route near the work zone where cyclists will have to walk their bicycles.
  • There are additional Hubway bike rental stations on Commonwealth Avenue during the shutdown (see below).

For Drivers:

Commonwealth Avenue Users:

  • Commonwealth Avenue (between Packard’s Corner and Kenmore Square) is closed to non-emergency and non-MBTA bus shuttle traffic (local access only) until 5:00 AM on August 14Access is maintained for businesses and abutting properties. 
  • See the “Commonwealth Avenue Closure Detour” on the Traffic Management page.

Boston University (BU) Bridge Users:

  • The BU Bridge is closed to non-emergency vehicular traffic until 5:00 AM on August 14.
  • See the “Boston University (BU) Bridge Closure Detour” on the Traffic Management page.

For MBTA Green B Line Users:

  • The Green B Line in the area of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge has been replaced with shuttle buses between Babcock Street and Blandford Street Stations until 5:00 AM on August 14. These buses have regular stops along the detour route for boarding/disembarking.
  • For more information, please visit the Green Line page on the project website.

For MBTA Bus Users:

  • MBTA Bus Routes CT2 and 47 are detoured from the normal routes until 5:00 AM on August 14.
  • See the MBTA Bus page on the project website.
  • Route 57 Bus is operating its normal route.

Memorial Drive in Cambridge:

MassDOT has requested that the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) allow vehicular traffic on Memorial Drive in Cambridge on Sunday, July 30, and Sunday, August 6 to minimize impacts on local roadways in order to encourage safe access throughout the area. (Ordinarily, on Sundays in the summer, a section of Memorial Drive in Cambridge is closed to motor vehicles so that it can be used by pedestrians and cyclists.)

MassDOT Encourages Active Transportation

There are recently installed pedestrian and bicycle wayfinding signage near Green Line shuttle bus stops on Commonwealth Avenue and in the area of Boston University to non-motorized travel especially for short trips. The signs list walking and biking distances to specific destinations. This is helping to optimize shuttle bus operations by shortening bus wait times and headways. In general, the public will find it a ten minute walk from where the B Line train service will terminate due to construction and from where the B Line train service will resume. See the Walk and Bike Times Map.

Additional Hubway Stations

MassDOT is partnering with Hubway to provide additional temporary Hubway stations on Commonwealth Avenue during the construction period so the public can rent a bike. These stations are located at:

  • Babcock Street
  • Silber Way

Hubway Ambassadors are assisting users at these temporary locations Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM and from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, providing additional bikes on a first-come, first-serve basis. All existing Hubway stations along Commonwealth Avenue and the rest of the Hubway service area will continue to be operational.

For New Hubway Users:

  • Download the brand new Hubway mobile app, available for iPhone and Android.
  • Use the app to find a station near you.
  • You can also get a pass via the app (only $1 for a single trip or save $20 on a full annual membership during the shutdown.)
  • For more information, visit thehubway.com, and download the new Hubway mobile app.

For more information, individuals are encouraged to:

  • Visit the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Replacement Project website.
  • Download MassDOT’s free GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions by visiting: www.MassDOTgotime.com
  • Sign up for email notices to receive public meeting notices, construction updates and traffic alerts.
  • Dial 511 and select a route to hear real-time conditions on I-90 and other roads.
  • Visit www.mass511.com, which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information, and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions.
  • Download Waze, the real-time traffic navigation app.
  • Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT because motor vehicle incidents which impact traffic flow are generally mentioned in tweets if they occur on the state’s major highways. Follow the MBTA on Twitter for service alerts and other information: @MBTA and @MBTA_CR
  • Sign up on MassDOT’s website to receive regular communications about MassDOT projects: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/MADOT/subscriber/new
  • Watch this YouTube video showing how construction work will be conducted.


Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.