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Sumner Tunnel will be open this weekend for Juneteenth travel

The tunnel is set to be closed for construction most weekends for the next 35 weeks.

The inbound entrance of the Sumner Tunnel in East Boston on June 10, 2022. Carlin Stiehl for The Boston Globe

Despite plans to the contrary, the Sumner Tunnel will be open this weekend for travel, The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced on Twitter Thursday.

MassDOT specified the tunnel would be open for Juneteenth holiday weekend travel. Juneteenth is Sunday, June 19, but many people have Monday, June 20, off as a result. MassDOT said the swing lane in the tunnel will reopen at 5 a.m. Tuesday, June 21.

MassDOT had planned to close the tunnel to East Boston and Logan Airport this weekend as part of its restoration project, which will fix the overhead arch, overhaul the deteriorating road surface, and install new lights.

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The plan was to close the tunnel every weekend for 36 weeks to allow construction on the 88-year-old tunnel, except on holiday weekends given that the tunnel is the most direct driving route to Logan Airport.

The project will eventually require the tunnel to be closed seven days a week, beginning in May 2023 and ending in September 2023.

On most weekends, the tunnel will close from 11 p.m. Friday to 5 p.m. Monday.

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Last weekend was the first weekend the tunnel was closed, and unsurprisingly, it caused lots of issues for food delivery drivers, rideshare drivers and users, and people flying into and out of Logan Airport.

Boston 25 News reported that Gov. Charlie Baker defended the closure of the Sumner Tunnel after last weekend’s frenzy.

“The Sumner Tunnel is going to be a fairly long and extensive project because no one did anything about it for a very long period of time,” Baker said on Tuesday.

“We constantly talked to the city, we talked to folks in East Boston, we talked to the folks on the city side of the tunnel, and to the extent that we can make adjustments to deal with some of the issues around disruption in traffic, we will. But the work’s got to get done.”

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For more information about the Sumner Tunnel Restoration Project, visit: https://www.mass.gov/sumner-tunnel-restoration-project

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