BOSTON (CBS) — Traffic on the Mass Pike was light on Monday morning after officials warned drivers that construction could add 90 minutes to commutes and advised them to seek alternative routes.
Two lanes were opened for east and westbound traffic on the Mass Pike in Allston amid construction on the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge.
“We’ve been monitoring traffic conditions very closely. Traffic so far has been slow and steady, so the volume is light for a Monday morning which is great. That means I think a lot of people have taken our advice and have either shifted their travel times or taken a different mode of transportation altogether,” said Acting Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver at a 10 a.m. update.
On Friday, Gulliver had said, “If everybody who normally comes in on a Monday morning commute chooses to come in their normal way, and they don’t re-mode, and they don’t convert, and they don’t change around their schedule– you can be in for a very long commute, our modeling suggests that could be as long as 90 minutes.”
Crews have been working 24/7 since last Wednesday night to complete the accelerated construction project in three weeks this year. The bridge will be entirely updated after another three weeks of construction next year.
While the morning traffic has been “better than we expected,” officials stressed that Monday’s drive is not necessarily foreshadowing for the rest of the week.
“Regardless, there is congestion. At our last check in at 7:30 in the morning with my traffic guys, we were seeing that congestion was backed up all the way into about Newton. That’s more than it typically is,” Gulliver said.
Drivers can look forward to the lanes staying the same through Friday evening’s commute. After that, the lane number changes to three.
On next Monday, it will return to a traffic flow similar to what it was pre-construction as construction and clean up take place else where.
Drivers are still being told to plan ahead and themselves give extra time.
Gulliver said, “We continue to advise everybody to reduce, reroute or re-mode their transportation to help decrease congestion during peak hours.”