Major construction project on Tobin Bridge, Chelsea Curves starts April 1

Construction project on Tobin Bridge, Chelsea Curves set to start Monday

A major construction project aimed at "rehabilitating the surface" of the Tobin Bridge, which will require lane closures on the bridge and Chelsea Curves section of Route 1, began April 1.

The project will result in significant traffic impacts and will create increased travel times on sections of Route 1 northbound and southbound for drivers and MBTA bus customers, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation warned drivers last month.

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"Beginning April 1, lane closures on the Tobin Bridge northbound will be put in place, although two of three travel lanes will be open during daytime hours," the department wrote in a release. "One of the three travel lanes on the Tobin Bridge northbound will be open during overnight hours."

The department then said, by early May, Route 1 travel lanes in the Chelsea Curves area will be reduced, with two of three northbound and southbound lanes open in the daytime, and one open during overnight hours.

"We thank travelers for their patience as MassDOT begins this necessary project," highway administrator Jonathan Gulliver said. "We encourage everyone traveling throughout the Route 1 area to make smart commuting decisions such as considering public transit, using the appropriate technology apps to find the best route and time to travel, and building extra time into their commutes to account for potential roadway congestion."

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said free fares will be offered for Silver Line 3 inbound customers at certain station stops, and additional Blue Line train capacity will be added.

Poftak also said public transit customers will be able to use a CharlieCard to travel between North Station and Chelsea on the Commuter Rail.

The work on the Tobin Bridge and Chelsea Curves section of Route 1 will be done at the same time so that these projects will be completed in 2021.

"If the projects were done at separate times, drivers would be inconvenienced for additional years," the release said. "This work will eliminate the need for weight restrictions and postings, and MassDOT will use accelerated construction techniques to shorten the overall construction time."

Now, commuters are left to worry about how they'll be impacted when the project starts.

"It's going to destroy people's commute, crazy congestion, just insane," Everett native Ryan Collins said.

The construction zone will run from the Chelsea side of the Tobin Bridge through the Chelsea Curves to the County Road overpass, a two-mile stretch traveled by an average of 63,000 people a day.

"It's enough traffic as it is right now, and if it's going for two years, I think it's going to be for a long period," Revere native Artie Lopez said. "I think it's going to be hard for a lot of people that commute into Boston back and forth."

Omar Segura drives up and down the Tobin Bridge constantly as an Uber driver, and said the next couple years will be tough as the construction gets underway.

"Even going back and forth from Boston, if you gotta go to Saugus, anything like that, it's gonna be really a mess," Segura said.

Drivers who commute on the bridge every day are now already looking for alternative routes to avoid the increased traffic.

"It's horrible, it's been a long time," Giovanni Torregosa said. "If you take the Ted Williams, it's better. You just have to pay 50 cents more."