What in God’s Name Is Happening with Mass Pike Traffic?

Mass Pike lane closure westbound as seen from Charlesgate overpass in the Fenway. –Matthew J. Lee / The Boston Globe

Driving in Massachusetts has always been pretty bonkers, but this is some next level aggravation.

It’s August. Half the state is on vacation. These should be the days when your commute is carefree. But they aren’t. The Massachusetts Turnpike is a parking lot, and it’s not about to get any better.

Despite the fact that our fair state already has a notorious reputation for snarling traffic and terrible drivers, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation decided it might be nice to toss a little construction project onto the highway that runs the entire length of the state.

In late July, MassDOT began working on repairs to the median that runs along the pike between the Prudential Tunnel and the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge, as well as improvements to the bridge’s substructure.


To complete the repair work, the Mass Pike has been narrowed from four lanes to three lanes, and even fewer lanes sometimes overnight and on weekends. In a country ravaged by aging infrastructure, repairs and restorations sound like a pretty good idea, except for one thing: According to The Boston Globe, it’s going to take two years. Two. YEARS.

That’s right, everybody! For roughly the next 24 months, you will have to buckle up twice every time you get in your car and head toward the Pike. The first time is for your literal seat belt because that’s just common sense. The second time is for the additional restraints you’ll have to have installed for when you ultimately descend into madness playing the license plate game against yourself during the two-hour commute that used to take a mere forty-five minutes.

When The Globe interviewed commuter Chuck Bartlett about his experience and told him it wouldn’t be over for another two years, he summed the whole thing up pretty well.

“Bummer,’’ Bartlett said. Bummer indeed, Chuck.

Just a couple of weeks into the hellish gridlock, the road rage is palpable. Coping mechanisms so far appear to include skipping showers to save time in the morning as well as the always useful angry outbursts on social media.


We’ll just keep paying our tolls and grumbling to ourselves as the red glow from tens of thousands of tail lights slowly burns itself into our eyes forever.

Don’t suffer alone. Tweet and tell us how you’re dealing with #MassPikeMayhem.

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