Radio set to frustrated

I've been driving through the northbound section of the Tip O'Neill tunnel since a few weeks after it opened, and at the time it was said that FM and AM radio frequencies as well as cell phones, pagers and wireless PDAs (which use radio frequencies) would all be operative in the tunnel system.

Both directions of the tunnel have dead spots and it doesn't appear anyone at the Mass. Turnpike Authority cares to fix them. It's not as bad as the old days of driving through the Sumner or Callahan when the radio would be completely useless in those underwater tunnels, but it is still a pain. I have to curtail cell phone calls (I use a headset and hands-free dialing, for those who want to snark on me to say hang up and drive.), and I know that it's useless to try to enjoy any music or talk radio while inside. Even my iPod transmitter goes haywire.

Most of the time, I am through the tunnel in a minute or two, so it's not very bothersome. But on days when the traffic is backed up going into the tunnel, I know at some point I am going to lose communication with the rest of the world. Sometimes, the northbound tunnel has a complete blackout from its entrance to the Albany Street downramp. Other times, the Pike has jammed all of the signals to broadcast a traffic advisory on a loop (which can be very helpful), but they forget to play the loop, so drivers get dead air with an occasional beep.

What I can't understand is that if the Big Dig contractors could figure out how to freeze the soil underneath the train tracks leaving South Station so they could excavate tunnels underneath, why can't they hire someone with some technical knowledge of radio transmission to fix the tunnel. I'd be surprised to hear that the cell phone companies haven't pushed to have this fixed.

Anyone else who is as frustrated as me can contact the Pike here.


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