Boston traffic nightmares ahead for U.S. Open visitors

The Sumner Tunnel - one of the Bay States most traveled highways on a daily basis - is closed on weekends and will lead to detours and delays for North-of-Boston and East Boston commuters, as well as complications for many Logan travelers including those coming to Boston for the U.S. Open this weekend and next.


BOSTON, Mass – Just when Boston will be the focus of worldwide attention for the next eight days or so, and not to overlook the impressive performance so far by the Boston Celtics on the worldwide stage, let’s take a minute to talk about a dim-witted government decision.

The hierarchy at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation are either dense or have been smoking too much marijuana, legalized here in January 2020. Take your pick.

Just when tens-and-thousands visitors from across the globe are arriving in Boston this week to participate in some way, shape or form in the 122nd edition of the U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, government officials have closed the Sumner Tunnel – one of the Bay State’s most traveled highway – for all weekends, starting a 12-month road repair project.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is shown here at one of his daily press conferences in April 2020, refusing to allow golf courses to open despite 35 states never closing golf operations, including Connecticut and Rhode Island.

I put this debacle right square on the shoulders of the 6-foot 6-inch Governor of Massachusetts – Mr. Charlie Baker. Why couldn’t Charlie Baker and his bunch of lackeys wait two more weeks until after Father’s Day weekend? For Pete’s Sake?

This decision is ignorant to the fact that it will cause travelers to Boston unnecessary chaos and aggravation. To close the Sumner Tunnel starting June 10 is an irrational bureaucratic decision. The Governor should have stepped up, issued an executive order, and waited two more weeks to begin the project.

The good Governor closed all golf courses in Massachusetts during the spring of 2020 when the spread of the Covid-19 virus was causing panic in the Commonwealth. Under Baker’s ignominious rules, Massachusetts was the second-to-last state to reopen golf courses, while 35 states never closed golf operations, including Connecticut and Rhode Island. The lame-duck Governor exits the Governor’s office in January 2023. Don’t expect Baker to make an appearance at The Country Club because he dislikes the sport. Apparently he doesn’t realize the Massachusetts golf industry’s gross economic output is estimated at $2.7 billion, comparable to other significant Massachusetts industries.

The dreaded Sumner Tunnel weekend closures are here and will cause visitors from out of state havoc, confusion, anger and most certainly present a poor first-impression of their visit to Boston. At the 1999 Ryder Cup, I remember many conversations with International media visiting Boston for the first time asking the same question. “What’s with that tunnel at your airport?” “Why do you go from 8 lanes to 2 then sit and wait in the tunnel?” My only explanation is that it’s a Boston thing and something we have gotten used to.

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

The Sumner Tunnel links much of Greater Boston to the north and west of the city to East Boston and Logan Airport will be closed for 36 consecutive weekends having stated Friday night June 10 at 11 p.m.. The closures will run through May 2023 with the exception of holiday weekends.

“Closing the Sumner Tunnel is not a decision we’re making lightly,” Department of Transportation officials said. “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.”

The closures are part of PHASE 1 of the Sumner Tunnel Centennial Restoration Project.

After that, things will get worse.

The Sumner Tunnel is one of the Bay States most traveled highways especially heavy use with travelers using Logan Airport.

The Sumner Tunnel will be fully closed from May 2023 through Sept. 2023. Weekend closures will resume from Oct. 2023 through the winter of 2023/2024.

The tunnel will be closed each Friday night through Monday morning at 5 a.m. for 36 consecutive weekends and possibly longer.

Work is weather dependent and subject to extension and change without notice. We know what that means. The government project will be extended.

Remember a project labeled “THE BIG DIG.“”

That lasted 15 frustrating years! The estimated cost of the Big Dig in 1991 was $2.8 billion but skyrocketed to over $8 billion when complete in 2006!

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