The Sumner Tunnel reopens on Sept. 1 — but there are more closures ahead

Signs near the Sumner Tunnel entrance warn drivers of tunnel closures this summer. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Signs near the Sumner Tunnel entrance warn drivers of tunnel closures this summer. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

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Don’t look now, but the first 2024 presidential primary debate is tonight.

For those who aren’t ready for another election cycle and want some counter-programming, might I suggest Kowloon wedding highlights or this video of Massachusetts from space?

To the news:

We’re almost a week away from the reopening of the Sumner Tunnel. After a two-month closure for top-to-bottom restoration work, Massachusetts Highway Administrator Johnathan Gulliver told WBUR’s Andrea Perdomo-Hernandez the harbor tunnel from East Boston is slated to reopen as planned at 5 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 1. But we’re not fully out of the darkness yet. “This is one phase in a multi-phase project,” Gulliver said. “There’s a lot more work to do.”

  • What’s next: A second two-month Sumner closure is planned for the same July-August timeframe next summer. Gulliver says that one will focus on replacing the tunnel’s driving surface. In the time between, there will be more weekend closures, starting with the weekend of Sept. 15.
  • The good news: There will be much fewer weekend closures in the coming year — “around a dozen in total,” according to Gulliver. That’s definitely an improvement over the 36 weekend closures we saw from June 2022 to June 2023.
  • When it’s all over: Gulliver says the 89-year-old Sumner Tunnel will “effectively be pretty close to brand new” and won’t need any major rehab work for “at least” another 50 years.

Put it in reverse: Federal officials now say Massachusetts can enforce its updated right-to-repair law, reversing its stance from two months ago. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the law — which requires carmakers to give owners and independent repair shops wireless access to car computer data — can be implemented, with one tiny tweak: Such wireless access can only happen “from within close physical distance to the vehicle.” (The feds had cybersecurity concerns about allowing remote access from afar.)

  • Wait, wait: Tommy Hickey, the director of the coalition behind the 2020 right-to-repair ballot measure, says it’s still unclear if or when manufacturers would need to start complying with the law. That’s because a court battle about it is still pending.

Be extra careful on your next trip to the White Mountains. That’s the message from New Hampshire officials after two Massachusetts parents died during separate incidents within the last week while trying to rescue their kids from fast-moving rivers. New Hampshire Fish and Game Colonel Kevin Jordan told WBUR’s Amy Sokolow this summer’s heavy rains have made the rivers colder, deeper and faster.

  • His advice: Jordan says “this isn’t the summer” to swim in the mountain range’s popular rivers and waterfalls. He instead suggests sanctioned swimming areas like lakes and ponds with lifeguards. If you do go, Jordan recommends having kids wear life jackets.

Check your bank accounts, Wegmans shoppers: The grocery store chain says some customers who used credit cards last Wednesday (Aug. 16) were accidentally double-charged. The issue affected both in-store and online credit card transactions.

  • According to a Wegmans spokesperson, they’re working with their credit card processor to reverse the charges: “Customers who have not already seen the charges reversed should see the duplicate charges refunded in the upcoming days.”

What’s this… some positive department store news? Macy’s is planning to open a new “small-format” store in Boston’s South Bay Center mall next month. It’s the first step of Macy’s plans to expand its smaller stores — one-fifth the size of its regular stores — in the Northeast.

P.S.— Did you know climate change is making poison ivy worse? WBUR’s Gabrielle Emanuel explained the reasons behind the phenomenon here. Experts say our best defense is, as always, avoiding contact with the plant. But that can be easier said than done! Take our new quiz to see how good you are at actually identifying poison ivy.


Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.



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