Letter to the Editor

Reader Fully Supports Mitigation

To the Editor,

As the former Superintendent of the Sumner/Callahan Tunnels and Boston Transportation Commissioner I fully support the MassDOT mitigation program for the Sumner Tunnel Restoration Project. This extensive infrastructure investment project is vitally needed to assure the continued structural integrity of the nearly 100-year-old tunnel whose structural failure would have devastating consequences for East Boston as well as the region’s transportation network. I remember my first day in 1990 in charge of the Tunnels when I discovered that the Sumner Tunnel ceiling was on the verge of collapse from corroded hanger rods, a potential calamity especially during rush hour. I immediately closed the tunnel and initiated a complete ceiling replacement project. To MassDOT’s great credit the current Sumner Tunnel Restoration project is designed to avoid such an event which would be a calamity for East Boston.

The two-month Project mitigation program includes free Blue Line service for the entire route plus an additional daily train, a free Eastie ferry service, additional ferry service between Boston and the North Shore, discounted Tobin Bridge tolls for East Boston EZ pass residents, and other Measures. MassDOT’s decision to change the Restoration project schedule so that it will occur during the traditionally slowest traffic period of the year is also a significant mitigation commitment.

All in all, the Sumner Tunnel Restoration Project is absolutely required for public safety and continuity of essential transportation programs serving the region, including East Boston. The comprehensive mitigation program ought to continue to evolve.

Thank you,

John Vitagliano

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