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Brake lights on the Braga, and downtown slowdowns

Posted by Nichole Davis  September 3, 2012 11:53 PM

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UPDATE, 9/4 2:35 PM: MassDOT has announced they will NOT be closing the Ted Williams Tunnel eastbound this evening as previously planned (and mentioned in this post); this is due to the inclement weather. The closure will be postponed for one week, and will take place next Tuesday into Wednesday, September 11-12.
Happy Labor Day-evening to you! I hope you were able to have a restful and relaxing weekend to gear up for back to school or whatever is on your agenda.

Today's post focuses on the South Coast for a bit, where we'll discuss the ongoing headaches on the Braga Bridge... I also have information on a Pike closure for you, and your usual list of downtown construction.

Here goes!

Not much to brag about on the Braga

Hey, Tobin Bridge commuters! It seems your fellow commuters on the South Coast empathize with you more than you may think. As a former area resident in my youth, I remember the Braga Bridge very well - and, still having family and friends in the area, I often hear about the consistent traffic headaches trying to get over the bridge at any given time of day.

A new piece from the Herald News showcases the at-times incredibly dangerous commutes over the bridge, and how they are constantly being hampered by construction. MassDOT says they are finishing Phase 1 of a comprehensive overhauling of the bridge, which, after it's done, will ease the congestion for some time. But once Phase 2 kicks in, weary residents are worried the same hassles will return.

With almost 76,000 cars crossing the bridge per day, it's understandable that construction would be somewhat difficult to maneuver and finagle while trying to promote even traffic flow. But a major complaint from commuters seems to be one specific entry point by Central Avenue, where a seemingly-ill-placed stop sign is impeding an even traffic flow for those trying to access the westbound lanes of the bridge, and making accidents an almost-certainty.

MassDOT spokesman Michael Verseckes told the Herald News that the stop sign was put up because jersey barriers put up for construction were blocking the lane that drivers would normally use to speed up to merge onto the bridge. Verseckes says the stop sign is actually now required by law.

Commenter luckycharms chimed in:

It's getting harder and harder to get in and out of Fall River safely and efficiently. Last time I was in town, there was a similar situation (with a stop sign at the end of the on-ramp) at the 24N/195W merge. The on-ramp itself was narrowed considerably by jersey barriers, and orange barrels, a DOT truck, and police cruisers obscured visibility on the highway at the merge. It's hard enough to come to a complete stop and then accelerate to beat oncoming traffic, even if you can see what's coming. (And, by the way, with a lot of people driving older cars these days, it's not always a given that someone can accelerate from 0 to 60 in a flash.)

Do you normally navigate this area and have a horror story? Share it in the comments. Full article here.

Do not enter the tunnel, do not collect $200

It's that time again -- the Pike will be shutting down completely one night this week so crews can perform some much-needed intensive maintenance.

MassDOT says the Ted Williams Tunnel will start to shut down eastbound around 11 PM on Tuesday, with the full shutdown occurring at midnight on Wednesday. The tunnel will be reopened by 5 AM on Wednesday.

DOT officials say crews will be continuing the cleaning work they've previously done in that tunnel, which is the same work that required shutdowns of the O'Neill Tunnel from time to time earlier this year. They'll be washing down ceilings, walls, walkways and drains.

So, if you're taking the Pike to the airport or East Boston, be sure to follow this detour: you'll be taken off the highway and put onto Atlantic Avenue. You'll then follow that to the Callahan Tunnel at Valenti Way, which will take you into East Boston. Trucks will take a different detour: you'll be put onto 93 Northbound at Atlantic Avenue, which will then lead you to Route 1 North via the Tobin Bridge. From there, you can access Route 16 East to Route 1A South, which will take you toward the airport.

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

O'Neill Tunnel / Expressway Northbound

The ramps from 93 Northbound at Exit 26 (Storrow Drive) and to the Sumner Tunnel will close on Thursday from 11:30 PM to 5 AM.

O'Neill Tunnel / Expressway Southbound

The on-ramp from Leverett Circle to 93 Southbound will close on Wednesday and Thursday from 11 PM to 5 AM.

The ramp from 93 southbound at Exit 23 to Purchase St. at Congress St. will close on Wednesday and Thursday from 11 PM to 5 AM.

Mass Pike Eastbound

++ COMPLETE CLOSURE ++ of the Pike Eastbound through the Ted Williams Tunnel Tuesday from 11 PM to 5 AM. Seek alternate or follow detours listed in article above.

Also, all eastbound traffic will diverted at Exit 22 (Prudential Center / Copley Square) on Wednesday through Friday from 11 PM to 5 AM.

The on ramp from the South Boston Bypass Road to the Pike Eastbound will close on Tuesday from 11:45 PM to 5 AM.

The HOV ramp will close on Tuesday from 11 PM to 5 AM.

The ramp from Frontage Road to the Pike Eastbound, and the ramp from 93 Northbound to the Pike Westbound, will close on Tuesday from 11:30 PM to 5 AM.

Mass Pike Westbound

The Clarendon St. on ramp to the Pike Westbound will close on Tuesday from 10 AM to 2 PM.

The Copley on ramp to the Pike Westbound will close on Thursday from 10 AM to 2 PM.

The on ramp from Congress St./South Boston and the transition ramp at Exit 24 from the Pike Westbound will both close on Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30 PM to 5 AM.

The ramp from the Expressway Northbound (Exit 20) to the Pike Westbound will close on Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30 PM to 5 AM.

The HOV on ramp from Frontage Road Northbound at Broadway to the Pike Westbound will close on Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30 PM to 5 AM.

Storrow Drive Tunnels

The Storrow Drive Tunnel Westbound will close from Tuesday to 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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