‘Heavier than normal traffic’: Boston’s Sumner Tunnel closing again this summer for restoration work

BOSTON — Boston area motorists, pack your patience!

The Sumner Tunnel will close again this summer for more restoration work, but it will only be off limits to drivers for a month instead of the initially planned two-month closure.

The Sumner is approaching 100 years old, and MassDOT said the work is necessary.

“This is the most impactful project that we will be undertaking this summer,” State Highway Administrator John Gulliver said.

Gulliver on Tuesday addressed the approaching closure, which primarily affects East Boston residents and airport traffic.

The state will fully close the tunnel for one month from July 5 to August 5.

“This work is focused on the driving deck which effectively acts as a bridge from one end of the tunnel to the other that’s where we have to close it for portions of the work,” Gulliver said. “Last year, the Sumner was closed for half the Summer to redo the ceiling. This summer, the driving deck or road is the focus. Originally, the plan was to fully close the tunnel for two months.”

Gulliver added, “Instead work that does not require demolition will happen during the weekends in the fall. The state says the project is the largest rehab of the tunnel in 25 years and it is expected to extend the tunnel’s life by 50 years. This is the final stage of construction for the tunnel which is a major thoroughfare taking traffic from the airport.”

The MBTA’s Blue Line subway service will be free as an alternative for commuters during the closure.

“Even if you are traveling off-peak hours, you should expect heavier than normal traffic,” Gulliver warned. To help people deal with the closure, there will be discounted fares for the Tobin Bridge and Ted Williams tunnel. The MBTA’s blue line will be free.”

Additional information can be found on mass.gov/sumner-tunnel.

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