Sumner Tunnel scheduled to reopen in 2 weeks; What's been done inside?

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Two weeks remain until the anticipated reopening of one of Boston's busiest tunnels, and MassDOT says things are on time and even ahead of schedule in some areas. Irregular Shaped Duct

Sumner Tunnel scheduled to reopen in 2 weeks; What's been done inside?

Massachusetts drivers have only seen the long line of traffic trying to find a detour around the Sumner Tunnel, but inside, there are four main pieces of construction, of which crews are now 76% complete.

From the top, 326 arches had to be installed, one of the more difficult parts of the project.

"We have pretty precise standards of measurement that we use," MassDOT highway administrator Jonathan Gulliver said. "Back then, 100 years ago, they used to rough things in a little bit. So there's areas where the contractor had to maybe shave off a little bit of concrete here and there in order to fit those arches."

Drivers can expect the tunnel to be brighter and more open.

Fireproofing inside of the tunnel has been enhanced.

"There are two main components, pulling out and replacing the old walls and using a special type of concrete with fireproofing fibers, developed by some local brainpower at UMass Amherst," Gulliver said. "This is the first project that we're using it on, but that's something that's incorporated into this to greatly improve fire safety in the tunnel going forward."

Two vent towers will push air into the tunnel and carry exhaust out, which is why the replacement of the drop ceiling and a lower supply duct are necessary.

"A really critical component of modern tunnels is making sure that you have a really well working exhaust system, and that's both for air quality and for fire protection," Gulliver said.

Once Sept. 1 arrives, MassDOT's plan is to return to weekend shutdowns of the tunnel only, before another complete shutdown around the same time next summer.

Sumner Tunnel scheduled to reopen in 2 weeks; What's been done inside?

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