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Traffic headaches: a refresher

Traffic was heavy on 93 southbound approaching Boston in this file photo from July 2014. Closure of Storrow Drive created traffic snarls in the area.
Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff
Traffic was heavy on 93 southbound approaching Boston in this file photo from July 2014. Closure of Storrow Drive created traffic snarls in the area.

The Commonwealth Avenue bridge replacement project is causing major headaches for drivers, in large part due to lane closures on the Massachusetts Turnpike. The backups got Metro Minute thinking: What are some other examples of road projects or closures that prompted widespread agitation? Here’s a sampling (leaving out the Big Dig, which is in a category unto itself).

July 2004, Democratic National Convention: The national limelight brought tight security to the city, resulting in nearly 40 miles of major roadway closures, a vehicle-free zone around the Fleet Center, and parking bans that extended through the Back Bay. Interstate 93, which runs directly by the arena, was closed for security reasons during the four evenings of the convention. Under the circumstances, Mayor Thomas M. Menino asked employers to let workers take vacations during the convention.

May 2005, the Cape Cod flyover: The Globe headline declared: “Flyover leaves some in the dust; rotary businesses face slowdown from roadwork.” People are passionate about Cape traffic, and the $60 million project to eliminate the rotary just before the Sagamore Bridge stirred a lot of debate, not to mention traffic headaches. The consensus? Gridlock improved for a while but returned as more drivers flocked to the Cape. Since then, ideas to ease traffic have included adding a third bridge, replacing the two existing ones, and building new bypass roads and entrance ramps.


June 2011, Interstate 93: The state closed half the lanes along a 5-mile stretch of Interstate 93 north of Boston, slowing traffic most weekends that summer on a road that carries nearly 200,000 vehicles every day. The restrictions were imposed so that the state could replace 14 decaying highway bridges, all more than 50 years old. Construction stood in the path of thousands of Red Sox fans bound for Fenway Park and summer travelers heading north to New Hampshire or south to Cape Cod.

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December 2013, Callahan tunnel: It was a perfect storm of gridlock when the Callahan Tunnel, a key artery connecting central Boston to Logan International Airport, closed for a three-month overhaul. Worse, it overlapped with the Longfellow Bridge construction project, as well as the closing of the Government Center MBTA station. The nearly 30,000 cars that travel through the Callahan Tunnel on weekdays were detoured to the Ted Williams Tunnel or Route 1.

Source: News reports.

Roy Greene can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @roygreene