Mass. Pike Lane Closure ‘Dry Run' Successful

In preparation for a major construction project that will begin later this summer, lanes of the Massachusetts Turnpike in Boston were closed this weekend to observe traffic.

At midnight Friday, both directions were reduced to two lanes until Sunday morning at about 7:00 a.m.

Officials called it a "dry run" for the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge replacement project that will begin soon.

"We are pleased to have successfully completed this dry run ahead of schedule and gained valuable information and insight into the deployment of the neccessary traffic setup on I-90 that will be used for the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge replacement project this summer," said Jonathan Gulliver, district highway director for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. "The bridge is structurally deficient."

The first major burst of bridge work will be from July 26 to August 14, with an aim for completion in 2019. This type of project would take four to five years using conventional techniques, is thought to be accelerated with the current plans.

This weekend's traffic changes took place between the Allston interchange and the Beacon Street overpass, the same place where traffic will be affected during construction.

"I actually use it every single day for the summer, twice, to work and from work, to school and from school," said Boston resident Natalie Escobar. "So it's going to be a giant pain."

"It's going to be a huge mess because it's going to take me a lot longer to get to work," said Boston resident Joanne Tsagas.

This goal of this weekend's trial run was to let drivers know what traffic will look like in July.

"Trying to find alternative ways to get to class is really going to be hard for me then," commuter Lara Mbanta said.

"It's going to be inconvenient, but it's going to be more inconvenient if that bridge falls right on the Pike," said commuter Jaime Divine.

"Definitely long run, it's going to be better. But, short term, when I'm commuting - especially in the summer - it's going to be hot and it's going to make my commute a lot longer," said Boston resident Holly Warendorf. "And I think that's going to be a problem."

"The bridge needs to be fixed," said Boston resident Taylor Van Hare. "I think the summer is honestly the best time because a lot of people are traveling but, yes, it's going to make my commute a little bit longer."

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