It has never been so hard to get around as it has been this summer.
During the daytime hours, it’s nearly impossible to get from one end of the City to the other.
Going north and south is virtually impossible, especially if one chooses to do so in the morning or evening rush hours.
The culprit seems to be a large construction project that tie up major roadways on an annual basis – something that has become a trend the last four years.
Major construction tie-ups over the last several years have been seen on Fenno Street, Park Avenue, Lynn Marsh Road, Squire Road, Sargent Street, the Boulevard and Revere Street.
Every summer seems to bring some inconvenient – but necessary – infrastructure or road project that wreaks havoc on those trying to get around unimpeded.
The worst of the worst this summer is by far North Shore Road – where the Wonderland Station Garage project has the road cut down to one lane in either direction.
Commuters and residents are backed up in both directions for quite a distance at almost all times of the day.
Last Wednesday, the situation came to a major head when that project combined with a major water pipe break at the intersection of North Shore Road and Revere Street.
The backups were unspeakable, and those driving in the area were backed up into East Boston and up to Lynn.
“There’s a lot of infrastructure work to be done in the City,” said the mayor. “I’m not sure it’s going to be done any time soon. When we finish one area, we move to another. The Garage project won’t last forever; it has to be done by March. However, next year, that project will move over to Ocean Avenue and the pedestrian bridge and that will all be closed.”
The mayor also added that in the next few years, major bridge projects on Winthrop Avenue at the Parkway and at State Road in Beachmont would also cause tremendous tie-ups.
“All of these bridges need to be replaced and they are not easy to replace and, at the same time, keep traffic flowing,” said the mayor. “I’m not sure there’s ever going to be a summer where there’s complete relief.”
The one area of the city that has seen more than its fair share of traffic snags over the last four years has been Revere Street – a place so much under construction that it has put several businesses out of commission, and threatens others as well.
Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso said that his ward has experienced so much construction and congestion over the past four years that it has taken its toll.
“Three out of the last four summers, Revere Street has experienced major construction projects, from the Revere Street Bridge to the Paul Revere School and now the gas company for the past two summers,” he said. “Hopefully it’s over now and we can move on. Everywhere you go there’s gridlock because there’s construction, but it can only be done in the summer months.”
A major gas line project on Revere Street has just wrapped up this week, moving over North Shore Road for some brief work on lower Revere Street.
It is a welcome exit from the neighborhood, as National Grid has been digging up the street and laying gas line for all of last summer and this summer.
“Traffic has been pretty tough here, but people have endured it pretty well,” he said. “People understand this is what has to happen to make sure our gas lines are safe and don’t leak. I just had hoped they could have done that a little quicker.”
Other areas of major construction this summer include:
•Washington Avenue – a major water and sewer project is just getting underway this month. A public meeting two weeks ago outlined the potential tie-ups.
•Broadway/Parkway – the replacement of the Casazza Overpass has caused pretty notable snarls for those trying to get to Chelsea or for those coming home via the Rt. 16 exit.
•Shirley Avenue – An unexpected gas line project emerged on the Ave in July, with National Grid crews digging up the street and laying new, large gas lines the length of the street. That is compounded by major road and sidewalk projects on the side streets of Shirley Avenue.