Transportation

Massport Has Some Big Plans for Improving Traffic at Logan

Yes, traffic is going to get worse before it gets better.


Photo via Getty Images/DenisTangneyJr

All Boston travelers know that if you’re headed to Logan after work on a Friday, on Thanksgiving Eve, or literally any day in December, you better factor in a decent chunk of time to sit in airport traffic, admire the tile work in the tunnels, and swap stories with your Uber driver.

The good news: After battling congestion for years, Logan is now undergoing some of its biggest projects in decades to rid the airport of its notorious traffic, once and for all. Dubbed “Logan Forward,” the projects involve drastic redesigns of the airport’s roadways and terminals, all in pursuit of making the airport easier and more efficient to navigate.

But while the ultimate goal of Logan Forward is to ease congestion in the airport, getting to that point is going to require lots of construction and plenty of detours—meaning that starting this fall, traffic will likely be even worse than before.

To help ease some of the traffic headaches, Massport has begun a widespread radio, print, and digital ad campaign to raise awareness of the upcoming projects. So, at least you’ll be mentally prepared to sit in gridlock as the minutes til takeoff tick down.

“‘We pledge to keep the public informed every step of the way throughout the construction process so they can appropriately plan ahead,” said incoming Massport CEO Lisa Wieland in a statement. “This will be a long process and communication with our passengers will be key.”

Will the payoff at the end eventually be worth it? When can you expect to see changes at your gate? To keep your mind off of the certain traffic jams ahead, here’s how Logan Forward’s new website says these big changes will eventually optimize traffic flow.

Free public transit to the airport will be expanded.

New Logan Express bus service is in the works. Buses have run for free between the airport and Back Bay since June, and the service will soon be expanded to include North Station and an undisclosed suburban location within the next five years. Passengers will also be able to reserve tickets online. If, per the organization’s goal, ridership doubles from 2 million to 4 million, 1.5 million vehicles could be eliminated from the road annually.

Rideshare stops will be optimized. 

Get ready to kiss curbside Uber and Lyft pickup goodbye. “App Ride” passenger dropoffs and pickups will now all take place in the airport’s Central Garage, from which passengers can access all terminals via moving walkways. However, while getting to and from your gate is now going to be more of a workout, the new App Ride area will be “brightly lit,” protected from the elements, and equipped with wheelchairs, bag check, and luggage cart service. According to the website, creating a centralized rideshare zone will eliminate 3 million cars from the tunnels and Route 1A annually.

Construction on this project is well underway, and the new rideshare system will go into action in October, per the Boston Globe.

New roads, inside and out, will ease congestion between Terminals B and C.

Terminal C, the airport’s busiest terminal, is one of the primary perpetrators of traffic backlogs at the airport. To prevent bottlenecks of traffic waiting at the curb, Logan Forward will expand curb space at Terminal C and revamp the roads between Terminals B and C, increasing efficiency through improvements like added signage, the elimination of merging, and improved lighting. This part of the project is currently underway, and is scheduled to be completed in summer 2022.

The project will enhance the inside of Terminal C as well, with renovations at gates, expanded food and retail options, revamped pre- and post-security  spaces, and a brand new post-security concourse that will connect Terminal C with B. Construction is scheduled to begin this fall, and completion is anticipated to be in fall 2021.

Terminal E is getting new gates.

As Boston’s international flight options expand, so must its international terminal. Terminal E will see a 400,000 square foot expansion and the addition of seven new gates. The terminal will also be home to a new eight-lane TSA checkpoint, featuring Automated Screening Lanes, those special segmented security checkpoints where you pile all your stuff in a giant bin. The icing on the cake? New local and “internationally-inspired” food and retail, plus “dynamic glass to provide shade from sun glares.” Construction is scheduled to be completed in spring 2023.

The airport is already looking ahead at some pretty cool technology they could implement after the project’s completion.

Remote bag check? Real time baggage tracking? Gate delivery services? Facial recognition? An airport-wide people mover? All are on Logan’s radar as the airport looks to the future.

To stay updated on the latest goings-on with Logan Forward, check the updates page on the website here. The website also promises that updates will be available via social media (Facebook and Twitter) and via a text alert system, due to launch this fall.