On Sunday, on the way back from visiting some relatives in Southie, Becky and I drove through some of the new portions of the Big Dig.
On the way in to the city, we took the Mass Pike from the Allston/Brighton Tolls. This put us into the new Mass Turnpike extension, aka the Ted Williams tunnel. The TWT runs underneath the south end of the city, and carries traffic under the Fort Point Channel, runs under a portion of South Boston, and then heads up to East Boston, Logan Airport, and Route 1-A.
We took exit 25 off of I-90 East, which puts you smack into South Boston. The ride through the tunnel was very smooth and fast, and the tunnel was brightly lit. The exit signs were very clearly marked.
On the way home, we got on I-93 North via the Congress St. on-ramp. The on-ramp was really a huge tunnel that took us down into the Liberty Tunnel (the name given to the new Central Artery tunnel). The on-ramp itself had to be about half a mile long, and then we were dumped off into the new central artery. The ride on the central artery was very fast, but it seemed to be EXTREMELY bumpy. Our car, which can normally handle bumpy roads pretty well, was lunging up and down as it drove through the tunnel. Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that we were driving well above the posted speed limit… 🙂 In any case, the Liberty Tunnel, like the Ted Williams tunnel, was brightly lit and the exit signs were clearly marked.
The Liberty Tunnel northbound exited directly onto the new Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge (or, as radio stations have been calling it, simply the ‘Zakim Bridge’). As you pass out of the tunnel and onto the bridge, you can still see the remaining upper and lower decks of the old central artery. Immediately after that, however, you are treated to a magnificent view of the new bridge. We drove through at night, and the lighting on the bridge was spectacular as we drove through! I wished that I hadn’t been driving so that I could get a better look. In any case, we flew across the bridge, and immediately at the end of the bridge there was a left hand exit to get on Route 1 North via the Tobin Bridge. This dumped us out into the old City Square Tunnel, and from there the ride was pretty much normal.
Except for the uneven, bumpy ride in the Liberty Tunnel northbound, everything was very nice! I am looking forward to the day when the southbound side of the artery will be open, and the hulking green skeleton of the old artery will be removed. This will make way for a good chunk of new green space in the city, and will once again connect the waterfront to the city’s downtown.