Jun 29, 2023 - News

Sumner Tunnel closure: How to survive the two-month shutdown

An orange traffic sign that says "Sumner Tunnel CLOSED" pointing to a detour.

Get used to seeing this sign daily. Photo: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The two-month closure of the Sumner Tunnel we’ve been dreading is around the corner.

Why it matters: The shutdown stands to take Boston's traffic nightmares to new extremes.

Yes, but: It doesn’t have to be this way — at least if we heed the advice of state officials and take public transportation in and out of East Boston.

Driving the news: The Sumner Tunnel will be closed seven days a week starting July 5, next Wednesday, as crews begin a $160 million overhaul.

  • The tunnel will remain closed through Aug. 31.

Flashback: Sumner, the first traffic tunnel in Massachusetts, opened in 1934.

  • Nearly a century later, the tunnel sees some 40,000 drivers a day, despite the deteriorated road surface and poor lighting.

Details: During the closure, traffic heading downtown must use the Ted Williams Tunnel, which already gets congested during rush hour traffic.

  • Northbound traffic will have to head to Route 1A.

Be smart: Officials are urging locals to use the Blue Line or the ferry to Long Wharf, which will be free. The state is also launching a free ferry from Lynn.

  • The Commuter Rail is slashing ticket prices on the Newburyport/Rockport Line, which runs through the North Shore. A one-way ticket will cost $2.40.

Of note: For those commuting from Eastie and farther north, MBTA will charge just $2 for parking in lots along the Blue Line.

  • The Commuter Rail will also discount parking along the Newburyport/Rockport Line.

MBTA general manager Phillip Eng urged people yesterday to take the Silver or Blue Lines to the airport. The agency is adding an extra bus on the Silver Line between the 8am and 2pm.

Pro tip: If you’re headed to the airport, especially if you have to drive, try to get there at least an hour earlier than you would.

  • "You're going to be better off waiting an extra hour at Logan to catch your flight than missing it," MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said last weekend, per NBC Boston.

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