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Mass. Pike opens to full capacity a day early in Boston

The Masschusetts Turnpike in Boston on July 30, during construction on the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge.
The Masschusetts Turnpike in Boston on July 30, during construction on the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge.(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

Commuters can breathe a sigh of relief knowing the Massachusetts Turnpike was opened to full capacity Sunday morning, a day ahead of schedule, officials said.

At a Friday morning briefing, state highway administrator Jonathan Gulliver said all lanes would be open by Monday before the morning commute.

But all four lanes, in addition to all on- and off-ramps, were opened a day early, according to a statement from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on Sunday morning.

“We are pleased that our crews have been able to open the Mass. Pike to its full capacity a day early and provide relief to commuters throughout the Boston region for peak travel hours,” Gulliver said in the statement. “This is an important interim milestone for this major bridge replacement project.”

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The Massachusetts Turnpike was reduced to one or two travel lanes on July 27, MassDOT said. Gulliver said Friday that even though there had been a 4o percent reduction of traffic on the turnpike last week, some commuters were delayed as much as an hour.

While the turnpike will remain open during peak travel hours, MassDOT said there will still be some lane closures overnight and during off-peak hours.

MassDOT said other closures from the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Project will continue through the week until the expected end date Saturday.

The $110 million bridge replacement project would take four to five years to complete using conventional methods, MassDOT said. However, using accelerated plans, the project is scheduled to end in 2019.

This summer, crews are working to construct the westbound side of the bridge, MassDOT said. All of the new steel beams have been installed. Crews are working Sunday to place concrete deck panels on the final area of the westbound side, while using “closure pours” of concrete to connect the premade panels together.

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Olivia Quintana can be reached at olivia.quintana@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @oliviasquintana.