Big Dig empty on one sideI left work tonight expecting the longest commute home ever. Instead, the Big Dig was empty like a Sunday morning. Traffic on the southbound side was very, very light. Even the usual slow down areas, such as the tunnel exit to the South Bay mall, was a speed limit breeze.
Perhaps this proves my theory to some degree. A daily driver of the Big Dig, I noticed something particularly troubling. After all the traffic studies and ramp configurations, the planners still managed to plunk down a few boners. The ramp from the Ted Williams Tunnel that dumps onto Route 93 South creates a real problem at the tunnel exit. I notice most of the traffic coming from the airport trying to exit at Mass. Ave. That move requires crossing about six lanes of traffic because at nearly the same point another ramp is allowing traffic from Downtown to enter the roadway.
Just past the Mass. Ave/Melnea Cass Blvd exit, another onramp dumps the HOV traffic from the airport onto the road, and only a couple hundred feet later, all of the South End, Roxbury, North Dorchester and Southie wedge onto the highway in front of the Fortress Building.
Of course, it's still better than what we had before, but the South Bay onramp at the Fortress Building and the Ted tunnel onramp at the O'Neill tunnel exit are both particularly troublesome. Both entry points are what causes such terrible traffic. Maybe it will change once the whole thing is complete, but I think all of the ramps and exits are open now, meaning nothing will change in traffic patterns.
With the Ted closed today, there was obviously no traffic coming onto the highway at all, but it was hard to know for sure what the net loss in cars would do, because all southbound traffic was so light. I mean, I didn't pick up a steady grid of traffic until Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester. Mostly, there were two or three cars near me for the bulk of the ride.
By contrast, it was so heavy on the northbound side of Route 93, both into and out of the city, that it looked like a disastrous morning commute. It reminded me of the time the unlicensed trucker crashed into the wall and took out about four or five tile panels in the wall. It took me about three hours to get to work that day.
Anyhow, here's a list of previous Big Dig posts.
Radio set to frustrated
It's about damn time
What's in a name
Dead spots and forgiveness
Reilly no friend of sunshine
The Logan Express
Clog in the leaky tunnel
I'll second that emotion
Brand new and insufficient
More on signs
Tip would be embarrassed