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Unsurprisingly, traffic issues are plaguing drivers navigating the Sumner Tunnel closure


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“Engineers have collected data and observations of traffic conditions during the tunnel closure, and we will be making some minor adjustments.”

The incoming entrance to the Sumner Tunnel in East Boston on June 10, 2022. Carlin Stiehl for the Boston Globe

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The Sumner Tunnel was closed over the weekend, the first in a series of 36 planned as crews restore the nearly century-old tunnel.

As expected, the closure has caused hardship for travelers and nearby delivery businesses.

Many taxi and ride-hailing drivers, like Lyft and Uber, have decided to avoid the airport altogether, leading to a shortage, according to Boston 25.

When there are not enough, Massport institutes a “double load” in taxis or cars for people going to the same area. To solve this problem, passengers can take the Blue Line, the ferry or the free Silver Line to the airport. There are also Logan Express or private bus services.

The tunnel work also wreaked havoc on nearby food delivery businesses, such as Spinelli’s Ravioli and Pastry, according to WHDH.

“Most of our customers are within 45 minutes of here, so those travel times have tripled. You know, doubled and tripled in terms of exits and returns,” Celeste Ribeiro Hewit, a company operations specialist, told the news channel. “We serve all of eastern Massachusetts and New England. And so, naturally, Sumner Tunnel is a great convenience for us.

Work on the tunnel ended just before 4 a.m. Monday morning, according to MassDOT spokeswoman Kristen Pennucci.

“Engineers collected data and observations of traffic conditions during the tunnel closure, and we will make some minor adjustments to our traffic management plan going forward,” she said in a statement.

“While our assessment is not complete, it is expected that the timing of a number of signals will be adjusted and signage added to help keep traffic flowing as efficiently as possible,” the statement said.

Plans to close the tunnel included input from city leaders, first responders and hospitals, and neighborhood organizations, as well as the MBTA and Massport, Pennucci said.

“MassDOT will monitor the effects of the closure and resulting mitigation measures and ensure that issues such as noise, vibration and mobility impacts are minimized to the extent possible,” it said. she said in her statement.

Of course, things could be worse; the tunnel could be closed seven days a week, which is exactly what will happen when the restoration enters its next phase, scheduled for May 2023.



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