Sometimes, it feels like transportation is a zero-sum game. Saturday morning, fresh off the high from the news that the Callahan Tunnel would open two days early, on Monday — welcome relief to anyone who has tried to get to the airport on a weekday afternoon this year — I drove to Newton for a run along the Boston Marathon route.
To my shock, even though it was 8 a.m. on a weekend, the Massachusetts Turnpike was snarled with traffic, a long line of vehicles moving at a glacial pace in either direction.
It was ugly.
It turns out that MassDOT was testing out an abbreviated version of lane restrictions that will affect weekend travel for the next month and a half. Now that the Callahan construction is over, transportation officials are able to make way for a construction project on the Back Bay tunnel of the Pike that will cause major weekend backups.
The reason: Folks from the Hynes Convention Center need to repair the concrete slabs above the Pike that prevent conventioneers from hearing the sound of honks and zooming cars drowning out the sound of their seminars, according to Highway Administrator Frank DePaola.
To make that work possible, MassDOT and State Police must route both directions of traffic into a single side of the tunnel, allowing construction crews free rein in the other side. Traffic will be funneled down to a single lane in each direction, separated by a line of cones, before crews switch to the other side of the tunnel.
The full lane restrictions will take place from Friday at 9 p.m. to Monday at 5 a.m. over the course of four weekends: March 21 to 23, March 28 to 30, April 4 to 6, and April 25 to 27.