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Callahan Tunnel closure begins at 11 tonight

The Callahan Tunnel shuts  for repairs starting tonight.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The Callahan Tunnel shuts for repairs starting Friday night.

As the clock ticks down to 11 p.m., drivers are making their last trips today through the 52-year-old Callahan Tunnel, which is closing until March 12 for reconstruction.

The tunnel, which is the artery that brings drivers from the North End to Logan International Airport and East Boston, will receive a new deck and curb during the 2 1/2-month closure, the Department of Transportation said.

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“All involved in the project recognize that there is no truly convenient way or time to work on such a heavily-used and important piece of infrastructure,” MassDOT said. Officials have said they wanted to use a “rip off the Band Aid” approach to the project.

Drivers will have to detour by using the Ted Williams Tunnel, Route 16 to Route 1A, the South Boston Bypass, or the Tobin Bridge, said Transportation Department spokesman Mike Verseckes.

Signs to direct drivers to those routes were placed on Interstate 93 South just north of the city Thursday night.

In the opening phases of the project, from Saturday to Jan. 4, workers will begin to demolish the curb and work near the North End entrance and East Boston end of the tunnel, MassDOT said. From Jan. 5 to Jan. 11, workers will begin demolition of the concrete deck and continue to demolish the curb.

As an incentive to finish the project on time, the construction company signed a contract saying they will receive $71,500 per day if they finish early. However, if the crew goes beyond the March 12 finish date, they will be charged $71,500 per day, Verseckes said.

Melissa Hanson can be reached at melissa.hanson@globe.com or on Twitter @Melissa__Hanson.

Correction: Because of an editing error, the wrong author’s name appeared in an earlier version of this story.

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