BOSTON (CBS/AP) — The Massachusetts Turnpike in Boston returned to its normal configuration of four lanes of traffic in each direction Monday morning following work to replace a bridge.
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The state Department of Transportation says the reopening of the lanes amid the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Project is three weeks faster than anticipated.
“I just can’t believe that the planning, it all worked,” said one commuter, shocked to hear the news. “Because if one domino stops, everything falls behind.”
It says the schedule for completing the remaining construction work is unchanged.
The MBTA’s Worcester-Framingham commuter rail line and Amtrak also will resume normal service Monday.
In an update at 11:30 on Monday, Acting Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said: “it’s a milestone that we are particularly proud of.”
The reopening was made possible because crews were able to finish the work involving a crane early. The crane was then easily dismantled and removed while the construction site still occupied a large portion of the highway, explained Gulliver.
The Pike had been reduced to three lanes in each direction back on July 7.
It was reduced to two or one lanes on July 28.
Crews had been scheduled to return it to four lanes on August 28.
Gulliver thanked the media for sharing his message and commuters for cooperating and staying off the Mass Pike if possible last week.
Starting Monday, MassDOT saw the number of cars on the road was down 30 percent. That leveled out to between 20 and 25 percent for the rest of last week, said Gulliver.
He stressed that “this is not the end of overall impacts because of this project. We managed to return the Pike to full service which is great but there is always going to be periods throughout the remainder of this project where we may have to do lane reductions, where we may have to do some restrictions during off peak hours just to accomplish our work.”
Travel on the Comm. Ave Bridge and on the Green Line will still be impacted as well.
MBTA Interim General Manager Steve Poftak thanked customers for their patience, especially those on the Green Line.
While the T service was transferred to a shuttle bus in the area, Poftak said that about 2500 feet of new track was being put in place. The new track will increase the T’s speed.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)