Healey, state transit officials warn traffic around Sumner Tunnel closure will worsen this week

A sign near the Sumner Tunnel entrance warn drivers to expect delays this summer. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
A sign near the Sumner Tunnel entrance warn drivers to expect delays this summer. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Gov. Maura Healey said congestion near the airport this week will test and offer insights into the state's preparedness for the Sumner Tunnel closure, including how its command center handles real-time traffic flow.

Healey and Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll visited the command center Monday, as the Sumner Tunnel entered its second week of shutdowns. The tunnel is set to remain closed for two months to undergo critical repair work.

About two dozen workers from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the MBTA, Boston’s police and EMS departments, and even the Coast Guard monitored screens that showed movement along Boston roads and Blue Line train stations. The team worked out of MassDOT's District 6 office.

MassDOT’s Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver told the governor the group was tasked with making “real-time decisions,” such as adjusting intersections or dispatching tow trucks if, for example, a disabled vehicle was clogging a roadway.

Gulliver said the tunnel's first full week closed went relatively smoothly, noting that traffic was likely lighter last week due to Fourth of July festivities.

Healey said this week will be a true “test” of the effectiveness of the mitigation measures state agencies put together to prevent nightmarish commutes.

Massachusetts Port Authority Chief Executive Officer Lisa Wieland said people should “prepare and plan ahead” if traveling through Logan Airport this week, particularly on Thursday.

“Thursdays at the airport have always been busy,” Wieland said. “And summer is a busy travel season at Logan Airport.”

Wieland encouraged travelers to hop on MBTA’s Blue or Silver lines, or to consider ferry options to avoid getting stuck in traffic and possibly missing a flight. Tips for getting around can be found here.

The governor said she was optimistic the project, although inconvenient, will “result in a safer way and path for everybody in and around Greater Boston.”

“We're one week down in an eight-week project, and so far construction is on schedule and going well,” she said.


Andrea Perdomo-Hernandez Transportation Reporter
Andrea Perdomo-Hernandez is a transportation reporter for WBUR.



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