BOSTON (CBS) – If the Tobin Bridge is part of your commute get ready for some major changes. A two-year construction project on the bridge began Monday night.
One lane will be closed on the northbound side during the day and two lanes will be shut down overnight.
To help commuters, the MBTA is adding service on the Blue Line, there will be free fares on four stops of the SL3 bus line inbound and it’s recommended you use the Haverhill or Newburyport-Rockport commuter rail line when possible.
“We expect traffic to be very, very heavy initially over the next two-to-three weeks as that work zone is established and if you have an opportunity to use another mode of travel, a different route or to flex your schedule, we urge you to do so especially over the next two weeks before traffic really settles in,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver.
“We encourage everyone to start making smart travel decisions after we start our lane closures, such as building extra time into your commute, using travel tools such as Waze, Google Maps and Mass 511 and looking at and finding the best route, time and mode of travel to make it to where you need to go.”
As much as drivers have been dreading it— crews have been preparing for this project for months.
“I don’t want to add more time but I’m probably going to have to. I’ll probably take a different route, I use the Waze app so, hopefully, that’s going to help me out,” one driver told WBZ-TV. “I’m frustrated, but what can you do, right?”
There is absolutely no doubt the major rehabilitation project has been a long time coming.
“It’s a very old bridge I grew up going over that bridge,” James White said.
“Oh, I’m mad yea I’m not going to hide it I’m pretty mad,” another driver said.
Drivers already know what all the construction will bring.
“Well I know it’s going to be a traffic jam all over because I’m coming from one city to another it’s my daily routine so I’m sure there are going to be hours of delays, not sure why they are doing it now or why they are choosing to do it now but I’m sure there will be a lot of traffic going both ways,” Kimberly Jackman said.
The second phase of construction will begin in May. That’s when a southbound lane in the Chelsea curves area will close, meaning commuters will have only two lanes of travel in each direction.
“Our crews will take an additional lane on the southbound or inbound side of the Chelsea curves area this means there will be two lanes in both directions and that condition will be in place for the next two years,” Gulliver said.
The work is expected to be done by 2021.
For more information, visit the MassDOT website.