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Updated: Longfellow Bridge Weekend Red Line Bus Substitutions Start August 10-11

UPDATE:  MassDOT & MBTA have announced that the planned Red Line diversion for this weekend (August 24-25) has been postponed September 14-15, 2013.  Normal Red Line rail service will operate this weekend.

The first of twenty-five (25) MBTA Red Line weekend closures during the 3.5 year Longfellow Bridge rehabilitation project  is scheduled for this weekend, August 10-11.  The Red Line tracks and facilities will be rebuilt in part during these weekend closures, ensuring continuation of weekday service during the project.

From the start of service on Saturday, August 11,  through the close of service on Sunday, August 11, buses will substitute for Red Line subway and make all stops betweeen Park Street, Charles/MGH and and Kendall/MIT.

During these weekends, the bridge will also be closed to vehicular traffic, including bicycles in the roadway.  The sidewalk remains open for pedestrians, and bicyclists are invited to walk their bicycles on the sidewalks or detour.

More information, including suggested detour routes:


There are four more weekend closures scheduled for 2013:

August 24-25, October 19-20 and 26-27 and November 2-3


To report issues or concerns or for questions related to construction, please use the dedicated project hotline, 617-519-9892,or email address, To be added to the project email of US Mail distribution lists, please contact Stephanie Boundy, Public Outreach Coordinator for MassDOT's Accelerated Bridge Program, at 857-368-8904 or


Emergency Repairs on O'Brien Hwy Tuesday; work continues Wednesday night

Most of us who had to get home Tuesday night (7/23) were wondering what on earth happened as the greater Boston area quickly became gridlocked.  While the weather certainly didn't help the situation, today Cambridge Police gave us another piece of the puzzle:


On July 23, 2013, there was an unexpected event that significantly impacted traffic in Cambridge during the rush hour commute.  A large sinkhole was discovered which required the immediate closure of McGrath O’Brien Highway at Edwin Land Boulevard in Cambridge.
Cambridge Police Officers were dispatched to direct traffic and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) was able to make emergency roadway repairs and resolve the issue. 
The road was reopened for the morning commute on July 24.  This unforeseen incident was frustrating for residents and an inconvenience for commuters, and the department appreciates the patience and understanding of all who were affected.


And - an update late on Wednesday.  DCR will again close inbound lanes on Wednesday night, from 9:00 PM to 4:00 AM, for further repair work.


Cambridge St Tunnel Closure (Harvard Sq area)

Cambridge DPW has announced a four-day closure of the Cambridge Street Tunnel for repaving:

Beginning at 9am on Friday, July 26, the City’s contractor, MIG Corporation, will be closing the Cambridge Street Tunnel in both directions for roadway paving operations. Due to the nature of the work, the tunnel is scheduled to be closed until 6am on Monday, July 29. During this closure, MBTA bus routes and schedules will be affected, so we are asking the public to check in with the MBTA to view adjusted schedules. A traffic management plan will be implemented, and I invite to view the attached image, which provides a map of the detour for motorists and cyclists.

You can view a map of the detour here.


Reid Overpass reopens early

We're sure everyone could use some good bridge news before the Longfellow Bridge closure starts.  It came from MassDOT last night, forwarded by Cambridge DPW:

"After being closed for just over three months, MassDOT will reopen the Reid Overpass on Friday, July 19, at 6 a.m.  The bridge, which carries Memorial Drive over the rotary at the BU Bridge in Cambridge, was closed to traffic on April 7 after the discovery of structural deficiencies.  The closure was initially expected to last six months.  Additional work under the bridge and in the immediate area is ongoing, but is not expected to affect traffic."


Longfellow Bridge Detours start July 20th!

This Saturday July 20, MassDOT begins the three-year plus reconstruction of the iconic Longfellow Bridge, connecting Kendall Square with Charles Circle in Boston.   Here is the latest information to plan your commuting.

Closure and Detour  Information

Phase I is scheduled to last until August 2014.  Construction will take place on the upriver or western side of the bridge, which typically carries the inbound traffic.  During Phase I, Inbound (to Boston) traffic will use the downriver or eastern side of the bridge.  Outbound traffic to Cambridge will be detoured from Charles Circle onto Charles St. eastbound, through Leverett Circle, onto O'Brien Highway and Land Boulevard to the Kendall Square area. This detour will be in place for all phases and the full three and a half years of the project.  For specific detour information, please see MassDOT's Detour Map.

Red Line Service

MBTA Red Line subway service will be maintained during weekdays for the duration of the project.  There will be 25 separate weekend shutdowns between the start and the finish of the project in 2016, with replacement bus service operating between Kendall/MIT and Park St stations.  The 2013  weekend shutdowns are tentatively scheduled for the weekends of August 10-11, 2013, August 24-25, October 19-20, October 26-27 and November 2-3. 

UPDATE as of 9-27-13: Planned diversions for fall 2013 are now Oct. 26-27, Nov. 2-3, and Nov. 23-24 only.

Traffic Impacts

Expect traffic impacts and delays during the project.  For the first two weeks, MassDOT will significantly beef up its monitoring  of traffic flow throughout the project area, and may make modifications to improve circulation.  Drivers should allow for extra time in their commutes and consider using the Mass Ave and BU Bridges as well as the marked preferred detour route.  This is a good time to consider walking, biking, using transit, car and van pooling and telework where these modes fit your commute.

EZRide Shuttle

CRTMA and Paul Revere Transportation staff will  monitor EZRide Shuttle performance during the Longfellow closure.  Shuttle riders should expect delays and longer running times. CRTMA will evaluate impacts over the first two weeks after the Longfellow closure prior to making changes to the schedule or route, if any.

Project Background
The three and half year rehabilitation project will address the bridge's current structural deficiencies, upgrade its structural capacity and bring it up to modern code, including improving multi-modal access and bridge-to-city-street connections to meet accessibility guidelines. The repairs and modifications will be consistent with the historic character of the bridge and comply with environmental standards.

For more information about the Longfellow Bridge Construction,

and to ask questions or comment on the project, consult MassDOT's website:  

Contact MassDOT at 617-519-9892, or for questions and to report issues or concerns about the project.