Planned closure of Sumner Tunnel in East Boston this summer reduced to one month, July

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BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing the schedule for the upcoming full closure of the Sumner Tunnel as its multi-restoration project continues. What was originally scheduled as a two-month 24/7 closure similar to last year has now been significantly reduced. The tunnel will be closed for work on Friday, July 5 and is expected to be reopened no later than Monday, August 5. There will be additional weekend closures both before and after this month-long closure.  

The closure is the next phase of a project that began in April of 2022 and includes work on the tunnel ceiling, roadway, walls, lighting, and additional improvements which will increase safety and climate resiliency. The project is a $160 million investment in the Commonwealth’s infrastructure.    

Last summer’s work focused primarily on replacing and rehabilitating the ceiling of the tunnel as well as work on the walls, light fixtures, conduit, and wiring. The upcoming work will primarily be on the road deck and associated elements.  

“This is a vitally important infrastructure project that will ensure the Sumner Tunnel remains safe and structurally sound for generations,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Monica Tibbits-Nutt. “We want to thank the people of Massachusetts and especially East Boston residents for their patience as we get closer to completing this very important work.”    

Drivers are encouraged to use public transit and will have many discounted or free public transportation options during the full closure of the Sumner Tunnel Restoration Project. This year’s full closure will mirror, in many ways, the successful offerings of 2023, providing travelers with a range of services:  

  • Free MBTA Blue Line rides: Riders can enjoy convenient travel.  
  • Free and reduced cost MBTA water ferry options: Riders can take advantage of alternative water transportation at no or minimal cost.  
  • Reduced MBTA Commuter Rail fares on the Newburyport-Rockport line: Save on your commute during the closure.   
  • Fare-free service for customers boarding key Chelsea bus routes, including the Silver Line 3.  
  • Discounted parking at select MBTA and Commuter Rail lots and garages: Park at reduced rate while the closure is in effect.  
  • On the RIDE, trips that begin and end within ¾ of a mile of the MBTA modes that are free will also be free from July 5 to August 5.  
  • Discounted tolls for Resident Discount Program participants: Benefit from lower tolls if you’re enrolled in the program.   
  • Additional options for travelers to and from Logan Airport: Stay informed about alternative transportation choices for airport travel.   

“As MassDOT and the Highway Division tackles critical infrastructure projects like the Sumner Tunnel Restoration Project, the importance of a multimodal transportation system is front and center,” said General Manager Phillip Eng. “I’m proud of the MBTA workforce for what we were able to do last year during the tunnel closure and we are ready to support our partners at MassDOT again. With enhanced ferry service and the Blue Line now operating at full speed, along with our other modes, we are pleased to welcome all that choose to use mass transportation. Thank you to our riders for continuing to utilize the MBTA as we encourage motorists to leave the driving to us again this year during the tunnel closure and even after it reopens.” 

The full schedule of remaining weekend closures can be found on our project website.  

Weekend closures will take place from 11:00 p.m. on Friday until 5:00 a.m. on the following Monday. Weekend closures will not take place during holiday weekends.  

“It is a credit to the work and engineering of our MassDOT colleagues and the contractor that we’re able to significantly cut the extended closure in half for this summer.” said State Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “Our ultimate goal remains for the Sumner Tunnel to remain safe and in service for years to come.”    

Additional information can be found on mass.gov/sumner-tunnel.    

For MBTA service information, please visit: www.mbta.com.