Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Project Begins With Demolition Work

BOSTON (CBS) — On Saturday, it’s all about Demolition, detours and delays as the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge replacement project got underway.

The impact of project is obvious. On Saturday excavators, loaders, and dump trucks were moving at rapid pace, but cars were at a standstill on the MassPike eastbound where traffic is down to one lane under the BU bridge.

Heavy machinery and demolition work were in evidence at the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge at BU. (Photo credit: WBZ-TV)

“It’s been a problem. It’s a big problem,” one driver said.

It’s a problem that was predicted by the acting Mass Department of Transportation Director Jonathon Gulliver.

Inbound traffic on the MassPike near the BU Bridge. (Photo credit: WBZ-TV)

“This is a bridge that has every mode of transportation whether it be bikes, pedestrians, cars, MBTA, beneath is Amtrak, commuter rail and turnpike,” Gulliver said.

“We did some modeling and it’s not good. Commuters are going to be looking at a 90 minute delay,” Gulliver said. “If anyone can take a vacation, that is what will be good for the area.”

The project is also having an effect on businesses in the area blocked off by all the construction like Otto Pizza.

“Right now its tough on our delivery drivers. 75 percent of our business is our deliveries and all this construction and re-routing,” owner Bob Hennessey said.

MassPike traffic on Saturday, July 29, 2017. (Photo credit: WBZ-TV)

BU grad student Dustin Hickey says bikers and walkers are also making adjustments, as police try and direct the flow of traffic to confused drivers.

“I can’t imagine. I don’t drive in the city, but it seems like to be quite a mess. They are shutting down parts of the highway and stuff below,” Hickey said.

The first phase of this project will take three weeks. The cost to replace the 50 year old bridge is $82 million dollars.