Ted Williams Tunnel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ted Williams Tunnel
Overview
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Status Open
Route I‑90
Start South Boston
End Logan International Airport in East Boston
Operation
Opened 1995 commercial traffic, 2003 general traffic
Owner Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Operator Massachusetts Department of Transportation
Traffic Automotive
Toll $3.50 westbound only (entering South Boston)
Technical
Construction 1991-1995
Length 1.6 mi (2.6 km)
Number of lanes 3 at ends, 2 under harbor
Operating speed 45 mph (72 km/h)

The Ted Williams Tunnel, also known as the Williams Tunnel, is the name of the third highway tunnel under Boston Harbor in Boston, Massachusetts, the Sumner and Callahan Tunnels being the other two. It connects South Boston with Logan International Airport, carrying the final leg of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90) under Boston Harbor allowing direct access to Route 1A in East Boston. The tunnel is named after the former Boston Red Sox baseball player and U.S. Marine air corps veteran Ted Williams.

History[edit]

Map showing the Williams tunnel (shown in red)

The Ted Williams Tunnel (TWT) was the first major link constructed as part of Boston's Big Dig. It is constructed from twelve "binocular" shaped steel sections fabricated in a Baltimore shipyard. These sections were then brought to the Black Falcon Pier near the site and each was fitted with a large surrounding mass of concrete (so that the tunnel section was more neutrally buoyant). Using additional flotation, the tunnel sections were then floated into place, lowered into a dredged channel, and joined to the other sections. At this point, the steel panels sealing the now-joined sections could be cut out and the finishing operations could be completed.

When the TWT opened in 1995 it was only available to authorized commercial traffic. Later, non-commercial traffic was allowed to access the tunnel on weekends and holidays. In 2003, with the substantial completion of the I-90 portion of the Big Dig, the tunnel was opened to all traffic at all times.

The tunnel is 8,448 feet (2,575 m) long, of which approximately 3,960 feet (1,210 m) are underwater. A toll of $3.50 is collected in the westbound direction, and the Fast Lane electronic toll collection system is in use. Commercial vehicles, including taxis, pay a toll of $5.25.[1]

Big Dig ceiling collapse[edit]

On July 10, 2006 at approximately 11 p.m. four three-ton sections of a concrete drop ceiling inside the I-90 Fort Point Channel tunnel leading to the Ted Williams Tunnel collapsed. A section of ceiling fell on top of a car traveling through the connector tunnel, killing 38-year-old passenger Milena Del Valle and slightly injuring her husband Angel Del Valle, who was driving. The cause of the collapse was later determined to be the failure of adhesives connecting a steel tieback suspending the concrete drop ceiling to the main ceiling above.

Traffic detoured onto I-93 after collapse.

Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney ordered the eastbound lanes of the Ted Williams Tunnel to be immediately shut down on July 20 after two ceiling supports showed signs of slippage. At a press conference, Romney stated that "pull tests" were to be conducted in the eastbound tube to test the stress load on the bolt/epoxy system that supports the drop ceiling. An independent contracting firm was to conduct that test. Romney said the shutdown should last "hours, not days".[2][3] The next morning, the eastbound lanes of the tunnel were opened to MBTA Silver Line buses as well as commercial buses running to Logan Airport.[4]

Late in the evening of August 8, I-90 connector ramp A leading to the Ted Williams Tunnel was reopened to general traffic, easing the crunch on Logan Airport traffic coming from the south. Cars heading to the airport northbound on the Southeast Expressway (I-93) would get off at exit 18 and take the South Boston Access (Haul) Road to Ramp A, eliminating the need to go through downtown Boston and U-turn at Storrow Drive to access the Callahan Tunnel.[5] One eastbound lane of the connector tunnel which collapsed was reopened to traffic on September 1.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ted Williams and Sumner Tunnel Fee Schedule". Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. 2008-01-01. Retrieved 2008-01-01. [dead link]
  2. ^ Ryan, Andrew (2006-07-20). "Romney closes eastbound Ted Williams Tunnel". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2006-07-20. 
  3. ^ "Romney Shuts Down Part Of Ted Williams Tunnel". WBZ-TV CBS 4. 2006-07-20. Retrieved 2006-07-20.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)[dead link]
  4. ^ "Ted Williams Tunnel Reopens To MBTA, Logan Buses". WBZ-TV CBS 4. 2006-07-21. Retrieved 2006-07-21.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)[dead link]
  5. ^ Daniel, Mac (2006-08-09). "Connector ramp to Logan reopens". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2006-08-09. 

Coordinates: 42°21′12″N 71°01′42″W / 42.3533°N 71.0283°W / 42.3533; -71.0283