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Mass. Pike to partially close in Boston this weekend

The Mass. Pike will be reduced to two lanes in each direction this weekend to prepare for the reconstruction of the bridge over Commonwealth Avenue.
The Mass. Pike will be reduced to two lanes in each direction this weekend to prepare for the reconstruction of the bridge over Commonwealth Avenue. Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

If you have to take the Massachusetts Turnpike through Boston this weekend, beware.

The highway will be reduced to just two lanes in each direction from late Friday night until 5 a.m. Monday between the Allston Interchange and the Beacon Street overpass near Fenway Park. At different points along that stretch, vehicles will be funneled to either the eastbound or westbound sides of the highway, with two lanes each for cars going in either direction.

The eastbound onramp to the highway from Cambridge Street in Allston will be closed through the weekend, as will the U-turn in Allston that allows westbound drivers to return to downtown. And on Sunday, the highway’s westbound offramp into Brighton and Cambridge at Exit 20 also will be closed. Drivers will instead be detoured through West Newton.

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Transportation officials said the weekend adjustments are a “dry run” of the traffic detours coming this summer when the state will conduct long-needed repairs on the Commonwealth Avenue bridge.

From July 28 to Aug. 7, the Mass. Pike will go down to one to two lanes of traffic in either direction. By diverting all traffic onto either the eastbound or westbound roadways at different periods, laborers will be clear to work on the bridge overhead.

The weekend closures will test these logistics and the traffic barrier system that will funnel drivers to either portion of the highway, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Officials anticipate the closures will be a headache for drivers.

“We encourage all travelers to be mindful of the lane reductions this weekend, avoid traveling on I-90 in this area if at all possible, take public transit including commuter rail, and utilize the appropriate technology tools to make informed decisions before heading out onto the roadways,” Jonathan Gulliver, the state’s acting highway administrator, said in a statement.

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In the summer, for about three weeks before and three weeks after the intensive disruptions, each side of the turnpike will be reduced by one lane.

The summer work will also close a stretch of Commonwealth Avenue to car traffic, require the MBTA to run shuttle buses along the Green Line, and shorten the Worcester-Framingham commuter rail on two weekends to just the Boston Landing stop in Brighton. But those closures will not be tested this weekend.

This summer’s work will only focus on half of the Commonwealth Avenue bridge; the work on the other half will be completed in summer 2018.


Adam Vaccaro can be reached at adam.vaccaro@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamtvaccaro.