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Many In East Boston Relieved Callahan Tunnel Is Reopening Monday

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BOSTON (CBS) – A multi-million-dollar renovation project shut down the Callahan Tunnel just after Christmas.

On Monday the primary route to East Boston and Logan International Airport reopens, much to the delight of commuters, residents and businesses.

People in East Boston are glad things can get back to normal after this part of the project is complete, ending more than two months of traffic woes, business woes and roundabout detours.

“Dirty. Loud. Constant,” is how Monica Kearney of East Boston described the more than two-month long day and night project to WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton.

Juan Montoya runs El Paisa, a Colombian restaurant located near the tunnel in East Boston. He said the closure has hurt his business.

“I think it was around 25 percent less on my sales since the tunnel has been closed, so I’m really glad that they are going to be open tomorrow,” Montoya explained.

The Callahan is a primary route to Logan International Airport and carries on average 30,000 cars a day.

The 52-year-old tunnel was shut down for renovations Dec. 27. One year earlier on Christmas Eve 2012, one of the tunnel’s wall panels fell onto the road.

In the next few days MassDOT found hundreds of defective panels.

The March 10 opening is two days ahead of a March 12 deadline given to the tunnel contractor.

The good news for commuters and folks in East Boston is also good news for the contractor, who is supposed to get a $71,500 bonus for every day the work is completed before deadline.

Remaining work to put up the final tunnel wall-lining will require some overnight closures of the tunnel but state highway officials expect that to go smoothly.

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