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It reduced traffic and improved mobility in one of America's oldest, most congested major cities. It built a framework for continued growth in Massachusetts and New England. Additionally, it improved the local environment. The project replaced Boston's deteriorating six-lane elevated Central Artery I It did so with an underground highway that is state of the art and two new bridges over the Charles River. This project created more than acres of open land while reconnecting downtown Boston to the waterfront.
Congress approved federal funding and the project's basic scope in April Construction began in September on a bypass road through South Boston. This took truck traffic off neighborhood streets. A third tunnel to cross Boston Harbor was also begun. The first major milestone was the opening of the tunnel. Named for baseball legend Ted Williams, majority completion occurred January 13, Three major milestone openings took place in Boston, Massachusetts had a world-class traffic problem called the Central Artery.
The Central Artery was an elevated highway running through the center of downtown. When it opened inthe Central Artery carried about 75, vehicles a day. In the early s it carried upwards of The big dig bug, making it one of the most congested highways in the United States. Traffic crawled for more than 10 hours each day. The accident rate on the Central Artery was four times the national average.
Without major improvements, Boston expected a traffic jam for up to 16 hours a day by Costs included a high accident rate, wasted fuel from traffic, and late deliveries. And traffic wasn't the only problem the old Central Artery caused in Boston.
The elevated highway displaced 20, residents. It also cut off the North End and Waterfront neighborhoods from downtown. This limited these areas' ability to take part in the city's economic life.
This extraordinary traffic mess was a drain on the economy and quality of life of Boston and New England. A massive undertaking constructed under the purview of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.
Replacing the six-lane elevated highway with an underground expressway beneath the existing road. This finished at its northern limit in a lane, two-bridge crossing of the Charles River. After the underground highway opened to traffic, demolition of the crumbling elevated artery. Finally, in its place, open space and modest development. The extension of I the Massachusetts Turnpike from south of downtown Boston. The first link in this new connection - the Ted Williams Tunnel under the harbor - finished in December Putting this underground was one of the more challenging infrastructure projects ever in the United States.
The project spanned 7. This is equal to 2, acres, one foot thick. It also excavated more than 16 million cubic yards of soil. The larger of the two Charles River bridges is a ten-lane cable-stayed hybrid bridge named the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge. It is the widest ever built and the first to use an asymmetrical de. The project also included four major highway interchanges. These connect the new roadways with the existing regional highway system.
At Logan Airport, a new interchange moves traffic from I and Route 1A, as well as onto the airport road system. In South Boston, another takes traffic between I and the waterfront and convention center area. At the northern limit, a new interchange connects I to the Tobin Bridge, Storrow Drive, and the new underground highway. At the southern end The big dig bug the underground highway, the interchange between I and I was completely rebuilt. On six levels, these connect with the underground Central Artery and the Turnpike extension through South Boston.
The interchange carries a total of 28 routes.
These include High Occupancy Vehicle lanes, and channel traffic to and from Logan Airport to the east. A fifth interchange, at Massachusetts Avenue on I, has been rebuilt by the project.
Each of these projects presented unique challenges. The Panama Canal confronted earth-slides, malaria, yellow fever, and Central American jungles. The Chunnel was dug from either end, 31 miles apart, meeting at a precise point under the channel floor. The Alaska Pipeline contended with vast distances, freezing temperatures, and major environmental concerns. The Central Artery Project had a unique challenge: to construct this project in the middle of Boston without crippling the city.
Keeping the city open for business throughout construction was a priority. When the interstates were first built, projects gave very little thought to the communities in the path of the new ro. Disruption and dislocation were the rule of the day. Failure to maintain the state of Boston's economy during the project would damage our competitive position for years. With that in mind, project planners worked with many organizations, groups, and leaders to create consensus on how to build the project.
The process of keeping the city open and making certain that everyone sees fair treatment is mitigation. Mitigation efforts were responsible for more than The big dig bug fourth of the project's budget. With the improvements and delay reductions, total vehicle hours on project highways dropped 62 percent from to A 12 percent reduction in citywide carbon monoxide levels was also achieved. Economic and transportation benefits are also detailed in this report. Along with improved travel through downtown, neighborhoods cut off by the old highway could reconnect.
This improved the quality of life in the city beyond the limited confines of the new expressway. Clay and dirt from the project went to fill and cap landfills throughout New England. This includes the former city dump at Spectacle Island. Visitors enjoy the acre Spectacle Island's park and pathways. The project built a series of parks with water features and other amenities in the path of the old elevated Central Artery.
Accessing the Greenway is a new tree-lined boulevard in Boston's downtown corridor. This boulevard includes miles of new and refurbished sidewalks, close to trees with irrigation and many plazas.
Other parks and new landscaping along the Charles River Basin and in East Boston have transformed the city. This includes retail, commercial, and housing uses in low-rise buildings. This form only gathers feedback about the website. Would you like to provide additional feedback to help improve Mass. How much do you agree with the following statements in the scale of 1, Strongly Disagree, to 5, Strongly Agree? If you would like to continue helping us improve Mass. Skip table of contents. Show More Table of contents. Show Table of Contents. The project's two major components: Replacing the six-lane elevated highway with an underground expressway beneath the existing road.
Scroll left. Building acquisition and business relocation process begins no private homes taken. Exploratory archaeology digs begin. Construction contracts advertised and awarded. Dredging and blasting for the Ted Williams Tunnel ongoing. Downtown utility relocation to clear path for Central Artery tunnel construction begins. Archaeologists find 17th and 18th century artifacts at a North End dig. All 12 tube sections for Ted Williams Tunnel placed and connected on harbor floor. New set of loop ramps open in Charlestown.
Construction begins on the Charles River Crossing. New Broadway Bridge opens. Leverett Circle Connector Bridge opens. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge completed. I Northbound opens in March. I Southbound opens in December. Opening of Dewey Square Tunnel, including new entrance and exit ramps.
Opening of the two cantilevered lanes on Leonard P.The big dig bug
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