By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Were you or yours among the unfortunate commuters stuck in that monster traffic jam Thursday morning on I-93? Some of the delays ran close to three hours after a truck carrying a load that was too high for the Tip O’Neill Tunnel crashed on the southbound side shortly after 6 a.m.

A truck hit the roof of the O’Neill Tunnel in Boston, sending debris flying. (Image from MassDOT)

The video is depressing and infuriating, but not surprising. That tunnel has been a design disaster since it opened, a dangerous maze of poor sightlines, confusing signage, and exits that come up way too quickly. Even without the accidents that occur all too often, the traffic in there is often just as bad as what we suffered through on the old Central Artery, not exactly what we hoped we’d get for our $28 billion investment.

All this is nothing new. The Associated Press reported over a decade ago that in a two-year period there were 614 crashes in the O’Neill Tunnel, while there were only 28 total in both the Sumner and Callahan tunnels. If the folks in charge have done anything effective to fix the situation, I haven’t noticed it. I’m sure once they see this, they’ll let me know.

The container on the back of the truck was destroyed in the crash. (Image credit: @lucas_tubbs – Twitter)

Anyway, all of this is just another reminder of what a debacle the Big Dig was, the unwelcome gift that keeps on giving. The design is a disaster, the costs were outrageous, and with the exception of the Ted Williams tunnel which usually works fairly well, it has provided little traffic relief.

And the worst part? There’s absolutely nothing we can do about it now except sit in gridlock, mutter under our breath, and pray that the MBTA gets fixed sooner, rather than later.

Talk back to me via email at, or use Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

Jon Keller

  1. Theodore Oule says:

    My goodness, Jon, another of my posts disappeared overnight…

    What is it with you guys…Do you have ghosts doing the culling overninght?

    You really need a certain degree of consistency in how you apply your rules…The way it is being done now is displaying an arbitrariness that is beyond explanation…

    Either that or total incompetence.

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