Alternative Travel Options During Tunnel Closure

Special to the Independent

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced their comprehensive mitigation plan to address travel impacts and provide cost effective alternative transportation options for residents and visitors ahead of the scheduled closure of the Sumner Tunnel from Friday, July 5, through Monday, August 5, 2024. The tunnel will be fully closed for approximately one month to facilitate work on the Sumner Tunnel Restoration Project. This is a significant reduction from the originally planned two-month closure.  

The Sumner Tunnel Restoration Project will offer a variety of mitigation options for individuals coming from all travel points, including free trips on the MBTA Blue Line during the tunnel’s closure, free and reduced cost water ferry options, reduced Commuter Rail fares for riders, reduced parking costs at MBTA and Commuter Rail parking lots and garages, free fares on a number of Chelsea bus routes, discounted tolls for residents, and additional options for travelers to and from Logan Airport. 

“We understand that the impact from this closure will be considerable for those who live and work in the area and need to travel in and out of Boston,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Monica Tibbits-Nutt. “In recognition of that, we are providing as many options as possible to ‘Ditch the Drive’ and find alternative ways to move about the area.” 

“MassDOT truly appreciates the interagency partnerships and community input to identify appropriate mitigation efforts,”said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “We strongly encourage folks to take advantage of the numerous free and reduced fare transit options.” 

“Last year we delivered safe and reliable service to support our partners at MassDOT during the Sumner Tunnel closure and this year we are ready to provide even better service. Our team at the T stepped up and accomplished record work to provide residents, essential workers, travelers, and transit-dependent riders many varied transit options during the Sumner Tunnel shutdown,” said MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng. “The Blue Line is operating at full speed across the entire line and with that we are able to provide trains every 5 minutes during the peak periods. This in addition to bus, commuter rail, and ferries, we are committed to our existing riders and welcome new passengers. Our workforce takes great pride in our recent accomplishments and hope you choose to leave the driving to us.” 

Details on mitigation options are below: 

Travel To/From East Boston and North End

 MBTA Blue Line and Parking 

• The entire Blue Line in both directions will be free to riders. Gates will be open at all Blue Line stations from Wonderland to Bowdoin. 

• An additional train will be added to the Blue Line in the midday period to help support more riders riding the line. 

• All MBTA parking lots and garages on the Blue Line will be reduced to $2/day. Additional free parking is available near Wood Island Station. 

• Visit for additional information. 

Discounted Tolls 

• Discounted tolls will be provided for the Tobin Bridge and Ted Williams Tunnel for those registered in the Resident Discount Program. 

• Real Time Traffic monitoring will be available at 13 local intersections. 

East Boston Ferry 

• The East Boston ferry will be free during the tunnel’s closure. 

• The East Boston ferry service project operates between East Boston at Lewis Mall and the downtown Boston area at Long Wharf. East Boston ferry service schedules are available online with all ferry service schedules available at 


Travel To/From The North Shore

Commuter Rail and Parking 

• Zone 1A ($2.40) fares from Salem and Swampscott Commuter Rail. Parking at Salem and Swampscott is just $2 per day. 

• Free parking at lots north of Salem, including Beverly, Gloucester, Hamilton/Wenham, Newburyport, North Beverly, Monserrat, Rowley, and West Gloucester. 

• Blue Line benefits also apply. Travelers are encouraged to utilize the Wonderland Station parking lot if coming from the North Shore. 


Travel To/From Logan Airport

Logan Express 

• There will be a 25% discount when you buy tickets online, and children under 17 ride free. 

• Adding additional parking capacity at Braintree Logan Express. 

• MBTA Silver Line (SL1 & SL3) buses can use the I-90 EB Emergency Ramp. 

• Providing passengers who take water transportation to the airport a “Ticket to Skip” to the front of the line for checkpoint screening. 

• Added stop at Logan Airport by the Winthrop Ferry. 

Travel To/From Chelsea

MBTA Busing Routes 

• Five bus routes in Chelsea free during the closure: 111/112/114/116/117 

• SL3: inbound and outbound will be free at these stops: Airport, Bellingham Square, Box District, Chelsea, and Eastern Avenue. 

MassDOT also has a working partnership with public safety agencies and Boston EMS to support public safety during the Sumner Tunnel closure. There will be two dedicated ambulances for East Boston, two rotating ambulances to support the day shift, two rotating ambulances to support the evening shift, and one rotating ambulance to support the overnight shift. 

Built in the 1930s, the Sumner Tunnel is the first traffic tunnel in Massachusetts and one of the oldest in the nation. The Sumner Tunnel is one of four ways into the City of Boston and processes over 39,000 vehicles per day and is the main connection for East Boston, Logan Airport, and a main entry point for the North Shore. 

The Sumner Tunnel Restoration Project is a $160 million investment in the Commonwealth’s infrastructure. Last summer, the work that was completed included removing and replacing the tunnel ceiling and repairing the overhead arch, repairing tunnel walls and installing fireproof panels, installing new LED lights inside the tunnel, upgrading CCTV and fire alarm systems, and installing new utility conduits and cables under the bridge deck.  

This summer’s work will focus primarily on demolishing and replacing the tunnel deck and roadway surface. When completed, the tunnel’s useful life will be extended more than 50 years, and it will safer and more climate resilient. 

For additional details on the Sumner Tunnel, please visit and sign up for email updates at MassDOT

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