Sumner Tunnel Restoration: Public engagement

Sumner Tunnel restoration work will impact commuters, travelers, and people in the surrounding communities. MassDOT is carrying out a public engagement strategy that seeks to that educates and informs the public throughout the life of the project.

Table of Contents

Ongoing Public Engagement

MassDOT is committed to carrying out a public engagement process that seeks to inform travelers, the commuting public, surrounding communities, and immediate abutters of the Sumner Tunnel Restoration Project.

To date, MassDOT has hosted:

  • A virtual briefing to legislators and elected officials
  • Virtual briefings to stakeholder and community groups
  • Virtual public meetings and hearings
  • A virtual open house event

MassDOT has provided direct outreach via:

  • Mailings to project abutters
  • Installing informational posters
  • Mass emails to EZ Pass holders
  • Outreach to Logan Express, Regional Bus Companies, and Rental Car Agencies
  • Outreach to community groups such as neighborhood associations and churches
  • Outreach to large businesses
  • Held neighborhood pop-ups

MassDOT has provided information via:

  • A project fact sheet
  • Regular email updates to stakeholders and project email subscribers
  • A dedicated project website
  • MassDOT social media posts
  • Press briefings
  • Press releases
  • Child-friendly coloring pages

Environmental Justice Considerations

MassDOT is committed to identifying existing and evolving barriers to participation and to continuously develop means and methods to remove them. MassDOT aims to provide both equitable opportunity and access to the public process, as well as useful and varied mechanisms to contribute and learn.

A demographic analysis of the project’s impact area identified the presence of Environmental Justice (EJ) populations. In Massachusetts, an EJ population is a neighborhood where one or more of the following criteria are true:

  • The annual median household income is 65 percent or less of the statewide annual median household income
  • Minorities make up 40 percent or more of the population
  • 25 percent or more of households identify as speaking English less than "very well"
  • Minorities make up 25 percent or more of the population and the annual median household income of the municipality in which the neighborhood is located does not exceed 150 percent of the statewide annual median household income.

MassDOT is tailoring their engagement strategy to effectively engage these groups through the following measures:

  • Proactively translating all informational material into the most-spoken non-English languages within the project area: Arabic and Spanish
  • Proactively providing real-time language interpretation for the above languages at all public meetings
  • Meeting the community where they are by holding pop-ups at grocery stores, libraries, parks, and community festivals
  • Holding pop-ups in these communities with language interpreters
  • Scheduling virtual meetings to occur after regular working hours
  • Employing different meeting sizes and formats to help reduce certain social barriers
  • Using non-English and/or community-specific media outlets to publicize the project
  • Heavy use of visuals and non-complicated language in public informational materials

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