On Thursday night, July 26 the next phase of work that will result in the replacement of the Commonwealth Avenue bridge over the Turnpike will begin with the closure of through traffic on Commonwealth Avenue followed by the temporary replacement of Boston College Branch Green Line service with shuttle buses between Blandford Street and Babcock Street. In 2017, the bridge carrying inbound lanes of Commonwealth Avenue and the MBTA line over the Turnpike were replaced. This year the outbound lanes of Commonwealth Avenue will be replaced in much the same manner. One major difference is that the BU Bridge will be closed for all motor vehicles because there will be no bridge for traffic to connect to until work is completed by August 11.
Every other Friday morning since early May, the Transportation Management Working Group, convened by MassDOT, has been meeting to review strategies and tactics for completing the work and ensuring continued convenience and safety for the public. The group reviewed a broad range of aspects of this work from maintain transit service, to deployment of police details at critical intersections, to allowing access for local businesses and residents. No consideration was too small. At a recent meeting, plans were made to deploy bike riders and observers to determine the travel time from bus stops to destinations to prepare wayfinding signs with accurate walk and biking times.
Like last year, lane reductions will be imposed on Turnpike traffic to allow safe demolition of the existing bridge structure and installation of girders and decking overhead in the period from July 27 to August 6. Commuter rail service to and from Worcester and Amtrak service to and from Albany will be replaced by bus shuttles on the weekends of July 28-29 and August 4-5. Turnpike ramps at the Allston Interchange will be closed much of the time, and MBTA bus routes #47 and CT-2 will detour on other routes to avoid the area. The #57 bus and shuttles for Green Line service will continue through the area, but some bus stops will not be available.
The greatest impact will be during the first weekend of the closures as demolition of the existing bridge takes place. Pedestrian and bicycle access will be maintained, but access to the BU Bridge will be shifted away from the work area. Through traffic will be diverted at Kenmore Square and Packard’s Corner, but access to local businesses will be available up to St. Mary’s Street on the east and Amory Street on the west. Temporary Blue Bike stations and a per ride discount fee will be available in the area during the construction period.
For more information, see the project web site at www.mass.gov/massdot/CommAveBridge and follow media coverage and bulletins that will be frequent during the construction period.