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Some love for Somerville, and your downtown slowdowns

Posted by Nichole Davis  August 20, 2012 09:28 PM

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Greetings! Happy Monday, as it were.

I've got your construction for Downtown Boston in the week ahead behind the jump. Also, a reminder for a Pike Westbound closure is included... and there's an answer to a question I've received about the Green Line.

A quick PSA: if you're driving through Waltham, watch out for zombies. (I mean, you should be watching for them all the time ANYWAY, as a zombie apocalypse is always possible, but in this situation, it's more of a traffic issue.)

Anyway, to the mailbag!

I live in Somerville and have been hearing bits and pieces about a possible Green Line extension here. Living off the Red Line, it won't really matter much to me, but what are the details behind this? Is this going to happen anytime soon? Are T fares going to go up because of it?
Zoe, Somerville

This has been talked about in circles since the days of the Big Dig, Zoe - but, yes, there is a plan to extend the Green Line. The formal plan has been on the move since 2005. Even just last week, some encouraging news came out about the project -- the city entered into a formal agreement with the MBTA to get the ball rolling on a station in Union Square by 2014, with hopes for it to be open by 2017. Details on that are here, via the Somerville Patch.

The thing is, it's not going to just be one direct line. The T is actually planning on creating two different light-rail extensions to access two Somerville and Medford endpoints. One extension, once everything is said and done, is set to terminate in Medford near Tufts University on College Avenue. That stretch will carry stops at Ball Square, Lowell Street, Gilman Square and Brickbottom. Another endpoint will be at that aforementioned Union Square stop. The MBTA also has plans to completely renovate and relocate the Lechmere Station already in place. Check out a .pdf of the planned stations here.

Before you get too excited, though, keep in mind that the land hasn't even been purchased yet, and construction will take years to actually break ground. Most of the stops on the extension are set to be open, according to the DOT, by 2017 or 2018. So it's going to be a little while before area residents will get to enjoy the benefits. But those benefits of the coming stations will far outweigh the wait, in my opinion. Trains will reportedly run every five minutes during rush hours to keep up with the demand, and buses will see less congestion with the new access points for light rail. This is one transportation project I definitely throw my weight behind.

More information on the project can be found here, at the DOT's official site for the project, and at Somerville STEP.

Closin' up shop (for a little bit)

Don't forget ... DOT crews are closing the Ted Williams Tunnel completely Tuesday night to continue the cleaning work they started earlier in the month... this time, the westbound side will be affected. The closure will start on Tuesday around 11:00 pm. The road will reopen around 5:00 am on Wednesday.

Here's the detour:

Beginning in East Boston, I-90 Westbound traffic will be diverted to the Sumner Tunnel. Inside the Sumner Tunnel, traffic should keep RIGHT and take the Storrow Drive ramp to reach Leverett Circle. From Leverett Circle, take I-93 Southbound to access I-90 Westbound. A second detour will be active for truckers. Trucks will be directed Northbound on Route 1A to Route 16 Westbound to Route 1 Southbound (Tobin Bridge) to I-93 Southbound.

DOT officials say the shut down is necessary because says they're doing a lot of power scrubbing and heavy cleaning that just can't take place with normal traffic, even with a couple lanes closed. Crews have been doing this cleaning in the O'Neill Tunnel and others on 93 for a couple months now, with satisfactory results, according to the DOT. They'll be shutting it down again for a couple nights in September, and I'll keep you posted as to when those are.

Watch for detours set up and expect significant delays.

You'll find (other) slowdowns here... (Downtown Boston version)

93 Southbound

The ramp from I-93 to the Burgin Parkway will close Monday through Thursday from 9 PM to 5 AM.

The ramps from the Surface Artery southbound to I-93 Southbound and the Callahan Tunnel will close on Wednesday and Thursday from 11 PM to 5 AM.

The ramp from I-93 Southbound to Exit 23 (Purchase St.) will close on Wednesday from 11 PM to 5 AM.

93 Northbound

The ramp from Essex St. to I-93 Northbound will close on Thursday from 10 PM to 5 AM.

Pike Westbound

** COMPLETE CLOSURE ** Tuesday from 11 PM to 5 AM. Seek detour.

The ramps from Congress St. and the Ted Williams Tunnel to I-93 will close Monday through Friday from 11:30 PM to 5 AM.

The ramp from the South Boston Seaport District to the Pike Westbound will close on Tuesday from 11:15 PM to 5 AM.

The ramp from Harborside Drive to the Ted Williams Tunnel Westbound will close on Tuesday from 11:15 PM to 5 AM.

The ramp from the Airport to the Ted Williams Tunnel Westbound will close on Tuesday from 11:30 PM to 5 AM.

The ramp from I-93 Northbound to the Pike Westbound, and the ramp from Northbound Frontage Road to the Pike Westbound, will close Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30 PM to 5 AM.

Storrow Drive Tunnels

The Storrow Drive Tunnel Westbound will close Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10:30 PM to 5 AM.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Nichole Davis is a Boston-based traffic reporter and news anchor. She’s been seen and heard on television and radio airwaves across New England since 2003, providing commuters with all the More »

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