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Commuter Guide To The I-93 ‘Fast 14′ Construction Project

May 30, 2011 1:25 PM

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File image (credit: AP)

File image (credit: AP)

If you ever drive I-93 north of Boston, you’ve been seeing the signs for weeks: demolished median; temporary lighting; even a new zipper lane. That is all in preparation for a major summer construction project. The goal is the rapid replacement of 14 deteriorated bridges in I-93 in Medford; seven northbound and seven southbound.

For the remainder of the summer, weekend travel on I-93 between Stoneham and Boston will be disrupted.

On Your Radio: Tune to WBZ News Radio 1030 for Traffic on the 3s

What Will Close

The pre-work has been going on for months. Beginning Friday night, June 3, the real work begins.

barriers Commuter Guide To The I 93 Fast 14 Construction Project

File image (credit: AP)

Northbound: Friday night around 8 p.m., a six-mile stretch of I-93 northbound will close, from Sullivan Square in Somerville to Montvale Avenue in Stoneham.

Northbound traffic will be moved across the median, to utilize two southbound lanes of I-93. A zipper median will split the traffic flow.

Southbound: Friday night around 8 p.m., a six-mile stretch of I-93 southbound will be reduced to two lanes, from Sullivan Square in Somerville to Montvale Avenue in Stoneham.

Southbound traffic will travel in the right two lanes. The left two lanes will carry northbound traffic, with a zipper median splitting the traffic flow. The HOV lane will not be open.

The highway will remain reduced to two lanes in each direction until Monday morning at 5 a.m.

This traffic pattern will repeat each weekend until early July, when work moves to the southbound side of the highway.

Work associated with the project will also take place overnights during the week.

The Ramps

While northbound bridges are being repaired, there will be no access to Exits 32 and 33 (Route 60 and Roosevelt Circle) for northbound travelers. Local traffic will be able to get on the highway at these exits.

Southbound exits remain intact.

Detours will be posted, so if you drive in this area, start reading the signs, or visit 93fast14.com for regular updates.

When construction moves onto the southbound side in July, northbound ramp access is expected to be restored, while southbound travelers will have limited access.

The Schedule

The major lane closures for the ‘Fast 14’ project are expected to last until mid-August, with a different bridge being replaced each weekend.

93 2 Commuter Guide To The I 93 Fast 14 Construction Project

Click to ZOOM to full size image (MassDOT)

From the weekend of June 3 through the weekend of July 8, northbound traffic will move to the southbound side of I-93 as described above, with the exception of Fourth of July weekend.

June 3-6 I-93N at Riverside Ave
June 10-13 I-93N at Salem Street
June 17-20 I-93N at Route 16
June 24-27 I-93N at Mystic River
July 1-4 NO CONSTRUCTION
July 8-11 I-93N at Mystic River; I-93N at Webster Street

From the weekend of July 15 through the weekend of August 12, southbound traffic will move to the northbound side of I-93, following a similar schedule and ramp limitations.

July 15-18 I-93S at Salem Street
July 22-25 I-93S at Mystic River
July 29-Aug 1 I-93S at Mystic River; I-93S at Webster Street
Aug 5-8 I-93S at Riverside Ave
Aug 12-15 I-93S at Route 16

Alternate Routes

Cutting the available lanes in half for the duration of the summer weekends is obviously expected to have a huge impact on weekend traffic. Anybody trying to head into, out of, or through Boston on I-93 will need to plan plenty of extra time and patience.

If the Boston/Medford area is not your final destination, avoid the area by using I-95/128, I-495, and Route 1 to travel north and south, and the Mass Pike and Route 2 to travel East and West.

Local traffic in Medford will be affected in different ways each weekend, as construction moves through the city. Updates will be posted each week on 93fast14.com outlining local roadway closures.

When Will It End

A project of this magnitude would normally take more than five years of construction disruptions. MassDOT is using a system in which modular bridge pieces are built off site, and then put in place using heavy equipment.

Major traffic disruptions from the $98.1 bridge replacement project are expected to wrap up by mid-August. The final full weekend of closures at this point is scheduled to be August 12-15. Some residual work will take place after that date, mostly during overnight hours.

You can sign up to receive email updates on the project’s progression on the 93 Fast 14 website.

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