Sumner Tunnel Restoration: Project Details

After nearly a century of service, the Sumner Tunnel will undergo a restoration starting in 2022 that will impact commuters, travelers, and people in the surrounding communities. Stay up to date about closures, traffic changes, and construction schedules here. More info coming soon.

Table of Contents

Traffic and Construction Updates

Overview of upcoming construction activities for the Sumner Tunnel Restoration Project.

Description of Scheduled Work

As part of Phase 1 of the restoration project, the Sumner Tunnel will be closed for 36 weekends. The tunnel will close on Fridays at 11:00 p.m. and reopen on Mondays at 5:00 a.m. Work will be taking place continuously throughout the weekend.

Listed below are the anticipated construction activities for the next two work weekends.

Weekend of July 1

In observance of July 4th, the tunnel will be open during the weekend of July 1st. Work will resume on the following weekend of July 8.

How will my commute and travel be affected?

Closing the Sumner Tunnel is not a decision we're making lightly. We know the project will lead to detours and delays for North-of-Boston and East Boston commuters, as well as complications for many Logan travelers. If you are traveling to or from the airport, expect delays. Please add additional travel time to your trip.

To reduce traffic congestion during tunnel closures, we encourage those travelling to Logan Airport to leave their cars at home. Instead, ride the Blue Line, catch the Logan Expressway, or enjoy a ride on the Logan Water Taxi.

We invite you to learn more about these options by visiting their webpages.

Closure schedule

Closure schedule

Spring 2022 to Spring 2023: Weekend closures

The Sumner Tunnel will be closed on weekends from Spring 2022 to Spring 2023. During this time, traffic will be diverted through other routes.

May 2023 to September 2023: Full closure

The Sumner Tunnel will be closed seven days a week from May 2023 to September 2023. During this time, traffic will be diverted through other routes.

Fall 2023 to Winter 2023: Weekend closures

The Sumner Tunnel will be closed on weekends from Fall 2023 to Winter 2023. During this time, traffic will be diverted through other routes.

Street sign for Sumner Tunnel

Detour options

Beginning the weekend of June 10, 2022, the Sumner Tunnel will close every weekend, from 11 P.M. on Friday to 5 A.M. on Monday, for 36 weeks, excluding holidays.

In coordination with local agencies and emergency services, the following detours were determined as the most efficient options to divert traffic away from the Sumner Tunnel while it is closed. When possible, it is highly encouraged to utilize public transit options.

Detour map, East Boston to Downtown Boston, with drivers being rerouted via the Ted Williams Tunnel.

View detour map PDF

Drivers from East Boston seeking to reach the Downtown Boston area will be rerouted to the Ted Williams Tunnel via Bennington Street and onto I-93.

Detour map, Logan Airport to Downtown Boston, with drivers reaching Downtown Boston via the Ted Williams Tunnel and I-93.

View detour map PDF

Drivers leaving Logan Airport seeking to reach the Downtown Boston area will be rerouted to the Ted Williams Tunnel and onto I-93.

Detour map, Logan Airport to I-93 North, with drivers being rerouted through Chelsea and the Tobin Bridge.

View detour map PDF

Drivers leaving Logan Airport seeking to reach I-93 North will follow signs for Route 1A North to Bell Circle Rotary. Drivers will follow signs to Route 16 to Route 1 south. Proceed over the Tobin Bridge and follow signs Rutherford Avenue. Continue through Sullivan Square and onto I-93 North.

Detour map, Revere to Downtown Boston, with drivers being rerouted via the Ted Williams Tunnel.

View detour map PDF

Drivers traveling along Route 1 south towards Downtown Boston are encouraged to divert to Route 1A in Revere at the Bell Circle Rotary. Once on Route 1A, drivers will be rerouted to the Ted Williams Tunnel and onto I-93.

Drivers traveling along Route 1A south towards Downtown Boston are encouraged to continue along Route 1A and will be rerouted to the Ted Williams Tunnel and onto I-93.

How will my neighborhood be affected?

Learn more about neighborhood impacts and disruptions along with our plans to reduce the effects on you.

What to expect

The Sumner Tunnel benefits everyone, but we understand that some communities will bear the brunt of the tunnel shutdown and construction. Closing the Sumner Tunnel is not a decision we’re making lightly. Aside from the effects on travelers and commuters, we understand that East Boston residents will see more traffic, noise, and pollution in their communities. And since much of the North End is built into the tunnel roof, construction will bring unpleasant noise and vibrations to this neighborhood. We are committed to finding ways to lower these effects and reduce impact across the board. 

Map of Sumner Tunnel

East Boston, South Boston, and waterfront residents and business owners

We understand that East Boston, South Boston, and waterfront residents and business owners will see more traffic in their neighborhoods as drivers detour through the Ted Williams Tunnel.

Here is our plan to help lower some of these effects:

  • The detour will be clearly marked on signs throughout the route.
  • Informational signage will be posted at popular cross-streets in East Boston so that pedestrians and bikers can learn more about the project and its benefits to the public, as well as be made aware of key closure dates coming up.
  • An email address has been created to allow the public to submit questions, comments, and concerns. Please reach out to us at Sumner100@dot.state.ma.us.

North End residents and business owners

North End residents and business owners will experience noise and vibration during active construction.

Here is our plan to help mitigate some of these effects:

  • Noise and vibration monitoring will be required to track compliance within allowable limits. Noise suppression devices, enclosures, and barriers will also be used as necessary.
  • The construction team is required to use dust control measures during construction, including the use of wetting agents, secure covers for trucks, and minimizing storage of debris onsite.
  • An email address has been created to allow the public to submit questions, comments, and concerns. Please reach out to us at Sumner100@dot.state.ma.us.

Why a restoration?

What we need to do

Corrosion and wear-and-tear have deeply impacted wall panels and gutters. There’s exposed rebar on the ceiling, and even after resurfacing, pavement conditions are poor – a fact that should be obvious to anyone who drives the length of the tunnel. Ventilation, drainage, security, and fire suppression systems all must be brought up to modern code. At this point, we’re well beyond patches and repairs: the only way to keep the Sumner Tunnel in service is with a top-to-bottom restoration.

Tunnel arch

 

Current conditions

MassDOT conducts routine tunnel inspections. Over time, the inspections have identified structural and safety issues that include:

  • Chipped and crumbling concrete
  • Rusted reinforcements
  • Cracked wall panels
  • Broken light fixtures
  • Deteriorating roadway surface
Tunnel roof deterioration
Exposed rebar

 

Restoration plan

The restoration plan for the tunnel includes repairs and improvements to the walls, deck, and ceiling inside the Sumner Tunnel. 

This project will include overnight and weekend road closures. There will be a complete closure of the Sumner Tunnel in the Summer of 2023 to: 

  • Restore the overhead arch and ceiling
  • Paint interior tunnel walls and add fireproof boards
  • Install new lights inside the tunnel
  • Install new utility conduits and cables

Once completed, the Sumner Tunnel will be in compliance with the majority of current design and safety standards. The project will provide a new roadway surface for vehicles traveling through the tunnel, and extend the lifetime of the tunnel overall.

On a fast track

The Sumner Tunnel Project is incorporating accelerated construction techniques to complete the work as quickly and as safely as possible. This will help shorten the timeline of construction and the duration of impacts felt by the public. The following will help to put our project on a fast track:

  • Accelerated techniques and materials such as off-site prefabrication and high-performance concrete will be used when possible to accelerate construction.
  • The original length of the full tunnel closure was 7 months. The current construction plan entails accelerated construction techniques and work taking place 24/7 inside the tunnel. This allowed us to shorten the full tunnel closure to only 4 months with 36 weekend closures leading up to the full closure and 12 weekend closures following it.
  • By coordinating a 4-month full tunnel shutdown, we are avoiding 40 individual weekend shutdowns. This helped us to shorten the construction timeline by 10 months.
  • The Design-Build approach provides financial incentives for the construction team to finish the work on time or sooner, and penalizes them for delayed timelines.

Stay informed

Sign up for project updates, email alerts, and the latest information on the Sumner Tunnel project so that you can stay up to date as the project unfolds.

Project email address: Sumner100@dot.state.ma.us

Sign up for project updates.

Construction hotline (508) 510-2920

Latest updates

As of May 2022, MassDOT is carrying out a multilingual public outreach campaign to raise awareness for the beginning of Phase 1 construction. During Phase 1, the Sumner Tunnel will be closed for 36 weekends. The first weekend closure will take place Friday June 10, 2022. We are briefing stakeholder and community groups who will be impacted by the project. We are also holding visibilities in the North End, East Boston, and the North Shore to raise awareness for the start of weekend tunnel closures.

Engagement and Outreach Events

MassDOT will continue technical, scheduling, and project management coordination with the City of Boston, Massport, emergency responders, and abutting municipal officials.

Resources

Download documents and resources from past public meetings. If you would like this material translated into languages other than the ones provided, please email sumner100@dot.state.ma.us with a request. Note that it can take about 2 weeks to accommodate requests.”

Phase 1 Public Information Meeting June 1

Phase 1 6/1/22 public meeting flyer (English)

Phase 1 6/1/22 public meeting flyer (Spanish)

Phase 1 6/1/22 public meeting flyer (Arabic)

Phase 1 Public Information Meetings 5/3/22 & 5/4/22

Watch the Phase 1 Public Information Meeting recording

Sumner Tunnel Reconstruction Phase 1 Update - Presentation from May 3 & May 4 meetings

Sumner Tunnel Reconstruction Phase 1 Update - Presentation from May 3 & May 4 meetings - Spanish

Sumner Tunnel Reconstruction Phase 1 Update - Presentation from May 3 & May 4 meetings - Arabic

Phase 1 public meeting flyer (English)

Phase 1 public meeting flyer (Spanish)

Phase 1 public meeting flyer (Arabic)

Detour Maps

Sumner Tunnel detour map: East Boston to Downtown

Sumner Tunnel detour map: Logan Airport

Sumner Tunnel detour map: Revere to Downtown Boston

Design Public Hearing 5/19/21

25% design public hearing recording

Boston - Sumner Tunnel Reconstruction design public hearing presentation - 05/19/21

Boston - Sumner Tunnel Reconstruction design public hearing presentation - 05/19/21 (Spanish)

Boston - Sumner Tunnel Reconstruction design public hearing presentation - 05/19/21 (Arabic)

Project Fact Sheets

Sumner Tunnel Centennial Project Fact Sheet (English)

Sumner Tunnel Centennial Project Fact Sheet (Spanish)

Sumner Tunnel Centennial Project Fact Sheet (Arabic)

Contact

Phone

Project hotline (508) 510-2920

Address

10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116
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