BOSTON (CBS) — Saturday is the first full day Boston drivers are experiencing lane closures on the Mass Pike in preparation for the major bridge replacement project.

Actual construction on the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge is set to begin July 28, but MassDOT has closed the lanes to get equipment into place.

Some Bostonians are not looking forward to the traffic issues.

“It will be absolutely terrible,” commuter Ya Yang said.

Highway crews completed lane reductions on Interstate 90 westbound Saturday morning. It was smooth sailing in the late afternoon.

However, local drivers like Sarah Keylani are not looking forward to dealing with the problems.

“The Mass Pike has always been a headache, so I can only imagine it will get worse, Keylani said.

lane reductions Lane Closures For Bridge Project Already Draw Criticism

Shot of the I-90 lane reductions. Barriers blocked the inside lane. (Photo credit: WBZ-TV)

But MassDOT acting director Jonathan Gulliver says he can’t warn drivers enough.

“It can’t be emphasized enough, this is a bridge that is right in the center of everything. It will literally impact all modes of travel through the region,” Gulliver said.

Lyft driver James Tellier is trying to put a positive spin on the situation.

“It’s work that has to be done, so we have to get it done. Of course there’s traffic. There’s always traffic. We live in Boston,” Tellier said.

It’s all part of the Commonwealth Avenue bridge reconstruction project. Lane closures between the Allston-Brighton Interchange and Beacon Street are needed to move a 440-ton crane and other equipment to the I-90 median. Transportation officials estimate these lane closures could cause 40-minute traffic back-ups.

Keylani says the alerts to leave early won’t help much.

“Probably just leave at different times to avoid traffic, but that’s probably what everyone else is going to do. So it’s going to build up and get worse from here,” Keylani said.

Yang though says the fact that it’s a summer project may help some.

“There’s still traffic from 10-12, but definitely better while students are away,” Yang said.

Drivers aren’t the only ones who will be impacted. For more than 18 days, the construction will impact Amtrak, the Worcester commuter rail, the Green Line branch, and the MBTA’s 47 and 57 buses.

The actual construction will get under way July 28, but to get drivers ready for the lane closures and the snags, MassDOT has closed off one lane.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports


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