What to know about the Sumner Tunnel closure

🚗 You won’t be taking the Sumner Tunnel this summer, that’s for sure. Here are travel alternatives for the two-month tunnel closure, plus details about the restoration project.

Blue Line pulling into MBTA station in Boston

From the Blue Line to the ferry, here’s how to get to Eastie this summer.

The Sumner Tunnel, which runs under the Boston Harbor and connects East Boston to the North End, will be closed to traffic from Wednesday, July 5-Thursday, Aug. 31.

Since ~39,000 cars usually drive through the tunnel each day, we’re here to help you navigate the situation without getting stuck in wicked bad traffic (hopefully).

The overview

During the two-month-long closure, traffic will be diverted through signed detour routes.

There are alternative routes for getting into East Boston, like the Callahan Tunnel or Ted Williams Tunnel. Leaving Logan Airport will be a bit trickier — here are the detours MassDOT recommends.

This isn’t the only time the tunnel will close. There will be another two-month shutdown next summer + weekend closures will continue starting on Friday, Sept. 8.

Map of Sumner Tunnel closure summer 2023

The Callahan Tunnel will remain open for access into East Boston.

Map via Mass.gov

The restoration

The reason behind this traffic headache? The 89-year-old tunnel is in need of some major repairs.

This multi-million dollar restoration project first started in the spring of 2022. Once completed, we can expect improvements like a restored overhead arch, the addition of fireproof boards, and new utility conduits + cables.

Travel alternatives

The state is encouraging travelers heading to Logan Airport to “ditch the drive” this summer and take one of these transportation alternatives instead:

  • MBTA Blue Line — Free throughout the closure.
  • East Boston Ferry — Free between Lewis Wharf and Long Wharf.
  • Bus — Additional service on the SL1 (plus, the SL3 provides transportation to Logan).
  • Logan Express — $3 tickets from Back Bay + free ridership for kids under 17.

Whichever travel plan you choose, allot for plenty of time. The Massachusetts Port Authority is recommending travelers give themselves an additional two hours to get to Logan Airport.
Bonus: Utilize the updated Mass 511 website to see traffic updates in real time.