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Why Is There No Relief For Boston Summer Traffic?

BOSTON (CBS) — It’s usually a perk of summer: Fewer brake lights flashing across Boston. However, this is not your standard summer in terms of traffic.

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One Boston driver says he’s noticed that this summer has not brought any traffic relief.

“Everything seems to be not as free, not as open as you’d expect without schools and such,” the driver said.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation says the answer is in the numbers, particularly with the number of cars still on the roads. According to transportation officials, we’re seeing the number of cars that are typical for non-summer months this summer rather than the normal drop-off.

State Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack explaining the reason for heavy summer traffic. (Photo credit: WBZ-TV)

The volume of cars combined with the high number of construction projects has led to congestion.

“I think everyone has probably noticed how many projects we have going on this summer that are disruptive,” said Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack. “I think we’ve equally covered south, north, and west of the city of Boston.”

Commuters were warned about the Commonwealth Avenue bridge project earlier this summer, but MassDOT estimates that’s only one of 30 projects underway.

“We know that making those investments in our infrastructure: Paving, rebuilding structurally deficient bridges may not be the sexiest thing we can do,” Pollack said. “But it’s among the most important.”

Boston traffic around a construction project. (Photo credit: WBZ-TV)

Talking about construction, Governor Charlie Baker agreed with Pollack.

“I think a lot of it has been exactly as what the secretary said, dealing with the nitty-gritty of insuring that deferred maintenance is taken care of,” Baker said.

Transportation officials are promising that today’s headaches will pay off “down the road.”

“It’s a short-term disruption, but it’s the price we pay to have a much more reliable system,” Pollack said.

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