Boston Braces for Monday Commute Around Comm. Ave. Bridge Project

MassDOT officials said people should expect delays Monday morning in what could be a chaotic traffic situation

MassDOT officials said Boston should expect delays Monday morning, in what will be the ultimate test of whether or not the public takes their advice to choose alternate routes during the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge project.

They said that they understand that people need to come and go from the city, but they hope that commuters will either use a different route or expect delays and leave a bit earlier than usual.

"You can expect that you will be delayed," officials said as they warned that Monday morning could be chaotic with construction causing the Mass. Pike to be whittled down to four lanes.

It will be the first normal rush hour since the Comm. Ave. Bridge project restarted.

"Last year, the general public was very cooperative with us," officials said.

MassDOT says delays last year ran anywhere from 30-45 minutes. They're warning against any over confidence this time around.

"We've been preparing for this now for several months," Jeff Gonneville, Deputy GM of MBTA, said.

The MBTA says anyone coming in from the western part of the city should take the commuter rail, or the green line D branch. Services have been added on both lines.

"We are telling our customers to allow for about 20-30 minutes extra time on both those services," Gonneville said.

On the green line that runs by the bridge, people will take a shuttle to get past the construction. For anyone walking or riding a bike, the road is still open.

An extra blue bike station has been added at Silber Way, and single trip passes will only cost $1 until construction is complete.

Related to construction, MassDOT says they have hit every milestone, and they hope to continue doing that in the coming days.

Officials said Sunday they are very happy with the progress so far.

Phase 2 of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Replacement Project began on Thursday, and the effects will be felt by both commuters and pedestrians alike. Pedestrians and cyclists can get by now in a limited fashion.

Travel on Interstate 90, Commonwealth Avenue, the Boston University Bridge and several branches of the MBTA will be affected by the demolition -- specifically, the T's Green "B" Line, along with several bus routes and the commuter rail line between Worcester on Boston. Shuttle busses will be offered between Babcock and Blandford streets.

The Boston University Bridge is closed and Commonwealth Avenue is only open to local access.

The portion of the Mass. Pike that goes underneath the bridge will be reduced from eight lanes to three or four, depending on the time of day. By 5 a.m. on Monday morning, the hope is to have two lanes running on each side of the Pike, according to Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver.

"We'll move it from the three-lane configuration it's at now to a four-lane configuration," Gulliver said.

On Sunday, as well as Aug. 4 and 5, shuttle buses will replace Commuter Rail service between Framingham and Wellesley Farms. Buses will continue on from Wellesley Farms non-stop to Riverside Station, where riders can connected to the Green "D" Line.

"We have to do this project," Gulliver said. "It's a nearly 75-year-old bridge and it's nearly at the end of its life."

The I-90 westbound off-ramp at Exit 20 towards Brighton and Cambridge will be close intermittently during the project, while the I-90 eastbound on-ramp from Cambridge Street and Soldiers Field Road will be closed through Aug. 6.

"I just don't really like loud noises, but I mean that was like a lot of banging," said one resident. "It's definitely not pleasant, but if they have to do it, they have to do it."

"It doesn't bother me," said another resident. "I'm from New York City, so I'm used to the noise."

A full list of closures can be found here.

Construction on the bridge is expected to last through Aug. 11.

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