What: Restricted roadways are currently open to general traffic
When: Continual as a Notice of Project Change is filed with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office
Access to the Bypass Road has historically been restricted to commercial vehicles only. As part of the Bypass Road and Logan/Route 1A Express Lane Pilot, MassDOT has allowed all vehicles to use the Bypass Road. Travel to the Seaport District from 1-93 Frontage Road will be allowed using the following access points:
- Northbound I-93 Southeast Expressway (Exit 18)
- Massachusetts Avenue Connector
- Southampton Street
All vehicles will also be permitted to use the Express Lane to Logan Airport/Route 1A from the following access points:
- I-93 northbound mainline
- I-93 northbound Frontage Road (at Traveler Street)
The South Boston Bypass Road's eastbound lane is currently open to general traffic 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At the same time, the HOV lane from 1-93 North/ Southeast Expressway to Logan Airport/ Route 1A has become the Logan/ Route 1A Express Lane open to general traffic at all times.
The westbound Bypass lane remains restricted to commercial vehicles only. Because of traffic congestion, there is no room to allow general traffic to travel in this direction. The Massachusetts State Police will continue to strictly enforce the commercial vehicle only restriction going westbound.
Since October of 2018, MassDOT has continued to review Pilot data, and has determined that a Notice of Project Change (NPC) should be filed with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office. This NPC, which is anticipated to be filed in September of 2020, will request a permanent change to allow all traffic to travel inbound to the Seaport from I-93. Once the NPC is filed, a link to the MEPA comment form will be posted to this website.
Because the current restrictions were based on an environmental impact report, any permanent change would additionally require:
- public input
- approval from numerous state and federal agencies (including Massport, MEPA, NEPA, and the Federal Highway Administration)
Lifting these restrictions was suggested by the South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Plan. The Plan was developed jointly by the City of Boston, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Massachusetts Port Authority, and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, in close cooperation with the Waterfront business community.
The goal of the Plan is to improve access to the South Boston Waterfront; the Bypass Road changes to should help. But those changes would also create a shortcut to the airport, which could draw more traffic to the neighborhood. Opening the HOV lane has created a more direct route to the airport and Route 1A. keeping those vehicles off the Bypass Road. Traffic data shows that the HOV lane is underutilized, so adding vehicles does not negatively impact service levels.
In 2015/ 2016, MassDOT ran a six-month pilot where the Bypass Road was open to all vehicles at certain times of day. This Pilot will allow MassDOT to conduct a more complete study on the impact of opening these roadways to general traffic.