Big Dig, Boston
In 2006, a section of ceiling from the Connector Tunnel between the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) and the Ted Williams Tunnel collapsed, crushing a car and killing a motorist. The collapse appears to have been caused by poor engineering and use of shoddy materials. As a result, the Turnpike Authority Commissioner was forced to resign.
While the Ted Williams Tunnel and the connecting tunnels to I-90 and I-93 re-opened to traffic a few months later, locals, whose faith in the Big Dig engineers and inspectors was somewhat less than unquestioning to begin with, say they hold their breath and cross their fingers every time they go through the "repaired" tunnel.
If you're arriving at Logan Airport and want to avoid the questionable tunnel, consider taking the water shuttle or the Blue Line to get downtown. Also, while the Silver Line goes through the Ted Williams Tunnel, it does not go through the I-90 connector tunnel.
I know that many VTers have heard of the Big Dig. One of the most costly transportation projects in the United States.. Perhaps the world by now!
To see what' it's done to our lovely city, take a look at the picture here. It has made many of the roads near un-navigable, And even people who have always known their way around, are having a hard time getting from here to there. Yes, Im talking about myself! The barricades around the work areas are a real eyesore.
However, the work is pretty much confined to certain areas at the present time. Mostly near the waterfront areas. And the other parts of the city are still beautiful and wonderful to visit.
Dont put off your trip to Boston due to the Big Dig, just beware of it.
And, I like everyone else in Boston am looking forward to the lovely park that will be put in place of the big elevated roadway and all the work areas. I do expect that at the end of it all, the nuisance will have been worth it. (But then Im always an optimist)
After over 20 years of planning and 11 years of construction, the Central Artery/Third Harbour Tunnel Project, or Big Dig, is finally coming to an end. Federal, state, and local tax dollars contributed to the $15 billion project, the aim of which was multifold: the extension of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90) via a harbour tunnel (the Ted Williams), to the airport, the expansion of the vehicular capacity of the Central Artery (Interstate 93), and the latter highway's submergence underground. Since opening in the 1950s, the elevated Central Artery has been an urban scar dividing Boston and blighting some of its most desirable central areas. The long awaited finale, the old artery's demolition, is fast approaching, though wrangling over control of the land it will free up on the surface, and what that land will eventually contain, has not yet finished. Most likely, the artery's former footprint will be reconstituted as a chain of parkland weaving through the city centre, a bare minimum of such lands being surrendered to developers.
Nevertheless, perhaps not even the most impressive result can bring relief to the beleaguered Bostonian, who has been trapped by 11 years of delays, detours, and distractions while the Big Dig ensued. Simply stated, there is little of central Boston the project did not touch, few areas that did not suffer the sight of its ubiquitous blue barriers. Perhaps the North End, most of all, has suffered: cut off from the rest of the city for over 50 years, it was even more cruelly and harshly severed when the project transformed the "scar" through the city into a vast hard-hat construction zone. Businesses and residents were forced to endure the noise and stunted pedestrian flow resulting from the activity. Now, however, as the city is being stitched carefully back together, the North End faces the question of whether this urban reunification will bring with it renewed interest in the neighbourhood from savvy realtors and developers.
Boston is known for it's terrible traffic. The Big Dig project has just been completed, but I still think the traffic sucks, even for someone who grew up there, it is difficult to find your way around. There is constant construction, and for some reason, the highway commision doesn't see the need for road signs. When I went back home in December, the new roads had been opened. No signs directing me where to go, and when I asked at a toll booth, I received questionable directions at best. My hometown is just 12 miles from the city, yet it frequently takes me 45 minutes to get there.
'The Big Dig Central Artery project's unique challenge is the fact that it is being built in the middle of a city. Work of this magnitude and duration has never been attempted in the heart of an urban area, but unlike any other major highway project, the venture is designed to maintain traffic capacity and access to residents and businesses - to keep the city open for business - throughout construction.' : http://www.bigdig.com/ ---
That's no easy task!
My warning: watch the SIGNS, an exit or a whole portion of a roadway can be changed over night. And that's no lie!
The Big Dig will never be completed. It is the most complex and expensive highway project ever undertaken in the United States. Traffic is usually at a standstill, dust and noise surround parts of Boston, all the while the price of the Big Dig goes up.
This is a warning, not a danger!
The Big Dig has been disrupting Boston's traffic for what seems like forever, and while things are definitely moving along, beware of unexpected changes to traffic flow, and street closings, at more or less any time. Because so much has changed so fast, that map that you've kept in your car for five years (or even just five weeks) is probably completely useless. Follow the signs, try to remain patient, or, better yet, take the T . And just remember, when it's all over, there's going to be a fabulous new park in downtown Boston!
The headaches simply are NOT worth it. The Big Dig is indeed a big dig, right now we have an enormous crater in the middle of our fair city, all in the name of reducing traffic (Even though we all know that in the end it will just hide it). Diggers found more toxic waste down there then they dumped it back into the Charles. Gotta love it.
But, why it is so dangerous to drive in Boston, or more particularly around the Big Dig/North End is because NO MAP CAN ACCURATELY CHART WHICH WAY THE STREETS WILL MOVE. Every day the police and construction workers reroute and detour new streets to different places, so even natives get lost.
Driving is unncesseccary. Public transportation is cheap and effective! Use it. $1 for the T.
The Big Dig in Boston is finally nearing the end? The half way mark? Well some the the MAJOR portions are completed or about to be nearing completion. It's not the time to take your eyes off of road signs tho. New tunnels and off ramps to the city are opening or have been opened. Here's one from the Tip O'Neal (Main Artery) which is the Storrow Drive Exit. I must admit , it's a pleasure to get from the Airport to the Sumner Tunnel to Exiting the edge of the Tip Tunnel to Storrow Drive or even North Station now.
Use to be such a CHORE!!
Want to know more about the Tunnels? see http://www.irishabroad.com/irishworld/Boston/bigdig/bigdig3110.asp
For live camera shots of the traffic etc. see the website below.
As a visitor, you might want to avoid driving into downtown Boston during the Big Dig as the signs, routes, detours, etc. can be extremely complicated. Park your car at the subway terminal station and ride into town: I suggest either Alewife (Red Line terminal) or Riverside (Green Line-D terminal).
The Big Dig, when it's finished however, will result in a better traffic pattern through downtown Boston. The current I-93 (central artery) will be completely relocated to underground. It's one of the largest projects in history. See web site below for more information...
Boston is going through a major transformation!