Council Requests Update on Sumner Tunnel Closure

By Adam Swift

Several city councillors want to make sure Revere doesn’t get the short end of the traffic stick when the Sumner Tunnel closes for approximately two months this summer.

Councillors Gerry Visconti and Richard Serino filed a motion requesting officials from MassDOT make a presentation to the council prior to the planned July 5 closing of the tunnel. The tunnel is scheduled to remain closed through the end of August.

“Basically, I would like MassDOT to come before the council, and like they did with the bike lanes on Bennington Street last year, present to the public for the edification of the residents of Revere as to what this tunnel closure is going to mean for Revere and for traffic going from the North Shore into Boston,” said Serino.

Serino stated that Visconti had previously requested that the bus lane on the Tobin Bridge be suspended and opened to all traffic during the tunnel closure.

“I don’t see how, with the closing of the Sumner Tunnel, they cannot suspend the bus lane on the Tobin,” said Serino. “The traffic coming into Revere via Route 1 as it is during rush hour is awful because of that bus lane. Now, if you close the tunnel, there is really only two or three ways to get into the City of Boston from the North Shore.”

Route 1 will take the brunt of that additional traffic, Serino said.

“I know East Boston during the weekend closures right now, MassDOT decided to close off the exit coming out of the airport going toward Bennington Street,” said Serino. “It’s protecting the people of East Boston right now during the weekend closures, but the traffic is just flowing into Revere from (Rte.) 1A.”

Serino said he wants to know what MassDOT is going to do to mitigate the impacts to Revere during the full-time tunnel closure.

“We always get screwed when it comes to these types of traffic projects,” said Serino. “Chelsea, East Boston, those municipalities get taken care of, but we need to make sure our people and our residents in Revere are taken care of.”

In addition to the traffic impacts discussed in the motion, Serino and Visconti also said they had issues with how the motion itself was handled. They both noted that the original motion was made back in March, but that MassDOT officials said they never received word of the motion from the city.

“The motion was put in on the 27th (of March) to try to get ahead of it, and it’s unfortunate that it just fell by the wayside and nothing was done by the administration,” said Visconti. “Like my colleague said, we are a few weeks away, and here we are and nothing is being done.”

Both councillors did praise state Representatives Jessica Giannino and Jeff Turco for taking note of the motion and trying to get some action taken by MassDOT.

Mayoral aide Gianni Hill said the current administration of Acting Mayor Patrick Keefe has been having weekly meetings with representatives from MassDOT to work on the Sumner Tunnel closure. He said there are a series of mitigation measures for the city that are still pending approval from the state and MassDOT.

“We tried to get a representative here this evening, we could not get someone here tonight, so we are really working hard to get someone here for the next meeting,” said Hill. “It has not fallen by the wayside, we have been working on it, and as soon as we have more information, we will get you that.”

Visconti noted that while there were mitigation talks underway, the council got no response until Monday night on the original motion made in March.

“We got no response from MassDOT and nothing has been communicated to the city council on the motion,” said Visconti. “Yes, I understand the mitigation of other things, but the specific of closing the bus lane has not been addressed yet.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.