Callahan Tunnel Set to Reopen for Monday Morning’s Commute

Now that wasn't so bad, was it?

Image via Google Maps

Image via Google Maps

Drivers, rejoice: the Callahan Tunnel project, which rerouted and redirected traffic between the North End and East Boston to other parts of the city, is coming to an end. Beginning Monday morning, drivers will once again be allowed to utilize the underground passageway, so long as nothing goes wrong between now and then.

Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?

The Callahan Tunnel first closed back in late December, and was expected to reopen mid-March. But crews were quick to get all of the fixes in place a few days ahead of time. “The Patrick Administration has made a commitment to invest in the infrastructure we have and to be innovative in how we deliver critical repairs to the roads, bridges, and tunnels that support the regional economy,” said MassDOT Secretary Rich Davey in a statement. “To that end, MassDOT is pleased to share that this closure is trending to end several days ahead of schedule.”

The daytime closure will end on Monday, March 10, at 5 a.m., just in time for the morning commute to work. But the project, which included a full rehabilitation to its deck, will continue throughout the weekend, 24/7, up until the tunnel officially reopens. Workers will be paving the roadway, installing lane markings, and removing the barriers and detours that have been set up to keep traffic away from the site to finish off the major parts of the rehabilitation.

The contract between MassDOT and the builder, McCourt Construction, included incentives if they could deliver the job on time. Because workers from the construction agency are on track to beat their deadline, they could receive $71,500 for each day they finished ahead of schedule.

Going forward, there will still be some overnight closures and weekend work to add the finishing touches to the tunnel project. The second phase of work calls for wall panel replacement. During this phase, which will likely stretch from March 13 through late August, the tunnel will be open and no work will be performed during the day, but it will be closed overnight.

Officials were at first worried what the months-long, $25 million project, which was prompted by faulty wall panels, would mean for commuters. “There is no truly convenient way or time to work on such a heavily-used and important piece of infrastructure,” officials said before the construction got underway.

But they managed. “Along with receiving quality work to meet our specifications, reducing the impact this work had on the public has been our highest priority,” said Highway Administrator Frank DePaola.

While the news certainly brings peace of mind to those behind the wheel, it means it’s MBTA passengers that will now have to be at a disadvantage. Transportation officials lined the Callahan Tunnel project up with the rehabilitation of the MBTA’s Government Center stop. Once the tunnel was complete, they said they would shutdown the stop for two years. Officials didn’t want the two access points closed down at the same time. The T’s project will begin on March 22.

That being said, here’s a snapshot of some of the work that was done over the course of the last two-and-a-half months: