By Sera Congi, WBZ-TV

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – Commuters heading into Boston through Cambridge Monday morning got their first taste of a detour around a major thoroughfare which carries an estimated 25,000 vehicles each day.

“It stinks”, said George Hammer of Chelsea whose drive to work was a half-an-hour longer than usual.

Construction work to replace the 100-year-old Craigie Bridge got underway over the weekend.  Both inbound lanes on Route 28 have been closed to traffic.  Two outbound lanes remain open.

Mass. D.O.T Chief Engineer Frank Tramontozzi says the bridge is beyond economical repair and must be replaced.

“The bridge is in desperate need of replacement, to please be patient. We ask that they use public transportation or follow the detours in place.”

Lower than expected traffic volume Monday morning made the roads and detours less congested than anticipated. Boston and state officials credit public awareness of the project.

In an effort to manage the potential impact, Boston’s Traffic Management Center is using 150 traffic cameras, which is double the normal amount. The additional cameras come from Cambridge, Somerville and the State Police.

”Anytime you take a bridge that carries 25,000 vehicles a day out of circulation, it’s going to affect more than Boston,” said Tom Tinlin, Boston’s Transportation Commissioner.

This phase of the bridge project is expected to last for at least one month. Then traffic will be reopened in both directions. But in late February, until the end of April, inbound lanes are scheduled to be closed again for completion of the bridge replacement.

That means commuters like George Hammer will have to remain patient for some time.

“It’s been pretty hectic with the weather and the rain”, said Hammer. “We’ll get through it.”

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