Local

Free Blue Line rides, new ferry service, other travel options when Sumner Tunnel closes for summer

BOSTON — Travel in and around Boston will likely be a nightmare when the Sumner Tunnel is completely shut down for the summer for repair work.

MassDOT has come up with a plan of alternative travel options to address travel impacts and provide cost-effective alternative transportation options for residents and visitors.

On July 5, the day after Independence Day, the tunnel will be closed 24/7 to traffic through Aug. 31, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

The plan includes free trips on the MBTA Blue Line during the tunnel’s closure, free and reduced-cost water ferry options, reduced Commuter Rail fares for riders, reduced parking costs at MBTA and Commuter Rail parking lots and garages, discounted tolls for residents; and additional options for travelers to and from Logan Airport.

The MBTA is also adding ferry service between Lynn and Central Wharf in Boston.

“We know the closure of the Sumner Tunnel will be a daily impact to those living, working, and traveling in this region,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Gina Fiandaca. “The Sumner Tunnel Restoration Project is a crucial investment in transportation infrastructure in the Commonwealth, and we are working hard to provide as many mitigation measures as possible to those impacted. I want to thank our partners for their efforts in creating mitigation options while this work is ongoing, and our residents and travelers for their willingness to explore alternative travel options over the next two months.”

Details on transportation alternatives are:

MBTA Blue Line and Parking

  • The entire Blue Line in both directions will be free to riders. Gates will be open at all Blue Line stations from Wonderland to Bowdoin.
  • An additional train will be added to the Blue Line in the midday period to help support more riders riding the line.
  • All MBTA parking lots and garages on the Blue Line will be reduced to $2/day. Additional free parking is available near Wood Island Station.
  • Visit mbta.com/Sumner for additional information.

Discounted Tolls

  • Discounted tolls will be provided for the Tobin Bridge and Ted Williams Tunnel for those registered in the Resident Discount Program.
  • Real-Time Traffic monitoring will be available at 13 local intersections.

East Boston Ferry

  • The East Boston ferry will be free during the tunnel’s closure.
  • The East Boston ferry service project operates between East Boston at Lewis Mall and the downtown Boston area at Long Wharf. East Boston ferry service schedules are available online with all ferry service schedules available at mbta.com/ferry.

TRAVEL TO/FROM THE NORTH SHORE

Commuter Rail and Parking

  • Zone 1A ($2.40) fares from Salem and Swampscott Commuter Rail. Parking at Salem and Swampscott is just $2 per day.
  • Free parking at lots north of Salem, including Beverly, Gloucester, Hamilton/Wenham, Newburyport, North Beverly, Monserrat, Rowley, and West Gloucester.
  • Blue Line benefits also apply. Travelers are encouraged to utilize the Wonderland Station parking lot if coming from the North Shore.

Lynn Ferry

  • The Lynn Ferry will operate between the Blossom St. dock in Lynn to Central Wharf in Boston (near Aquarium).
  • Free parking at the City of Lynn-owned lot will be available near the Blossom St. dock. Bicycles are allowed on the ferry.
  • Riders may use a Zone 1A fare ($2.40).
  • The Lynn Ferry will operate five days/week on weekdays only, with 10 trips per day. Schedules are being finalized and will be released as soon as they’re available.

TRAVEL TO/FROM LOGAN AIRPORT

Logan Express

  • There will be a 25% discount when you buy tickets online, and children under 17 ride free.
  • Adding additional parking capacity at Braintree Logan Express.
  • MBTA Silver Line (SL1 & SL3) buses can use the I-90 EB Emergency Ramp.
  • “Skip the Security Line” at Logan will be available for all water transportation users (must show ticket).
  • Added stop at Logan Airport by the Winthrop Ferry.

“I’m pleased that together with MassDOT, the MBTA is able to offer free Blue Line service to those impacted by the Sumner Tunnel closure this summer,” said MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng. “The MBTA has been working hard to reduce travel times on the Blue Line in anticipation of this project. We have the capacity needed on the Blue Line to serve our existing and new customers on this line, and I encourage those who can to take advantage of this free service in July and August.”

MassDOT is also working with public safety agencies and Boston EMS to support safety during the closure. There will be two dedicated ambulances for East Boston, two rotating ambulances to support the day shift, two rotating ambulances to support the evening shift, and one rotating ambulance to support the overnight shift.

The period between July 5 and Labor Day historically has the lowest volume of traffic. A second full closure of the Sumner Tunnel will then occur in the summer of 2024, for approximately two months during a similar period between July and August.

For additional details on the Sumner Tunnel, and all alternative travel options, click here.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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