Callahan Tunnel

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Callahan Tunnel
The entrance to the tunnel just past I-93 Southbound Exit 24B to Logan Airport.
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Route Route 1A north
Start Downtown Boston
End East Boston
Constructed high-strength steel and concrete infill
Opened 1961; 56 years ago (1961)
Owner Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Operator Massachusetts Department of Transportation
Toll Between $0.20 and $2.05 depending on payment method and residency
Length .96 mi (1.54 km)
No. of lanes 2
Operating speed 40 mph (64 km/h)
Tunnel clearance 13.4 ft (4.1 m)[1]
Width 24.2 ft (7.4 m)[1]

The Callahan Tunnel, officially the Lieutenant William F. Callahan Jr. Tunnel is one of four tunnels, and one of three road tunnels, beneath Boston Harbor in Boston, Massachusetts. It carries motor vehicles from the North End to Logan International Airport and Route 1A in East Boston. Ordinarily, this tunnel is only used to carry traffic out of the city, and with the completion of the Big Dig it only collects traffic from I-93 southbound (right after traffic merges from Storrow Drive) and downtown Boston. As of 2016, a toll of $1.50 is charged for non-commercial two-axle vehicles with a Massachusetts E-ZPass, while non-Massachusetts E-ZPass holders are charged $1.75. Vehicles without EZ-Passes are charged $2.05 through MassDOT's Pay By Plate MA program. For residents of certain Boston zip codes, a discount is in effect using an E-ZPass transponder, costing $0.20.

Repair work to this tunnel had resulted in a complete closure, which began at 11 pm on December 27, 2013 and ended on March 10, 2014, two days before the scheduled reopening. A second phase of work took place between March 13, 2014 to late August 2014, resulting in a closure 11 PM to 5 AM. From August to mid-November 2014, work was finished during off-peak hours.


Traffic flowing between Logan International Airport and directions south of the city on I-93 and west of the city on the Mass Pike (I-90) normally uses the Ted Williams Tunnel rather than the Callahan and Sumner Tunnels. Logan traffic can also use East Boston surface roads to and from Chelsea (Chelsea Street Bridge), Revere (Massachusetts Route 1A) and Winthrop (Massachusetts Route 145).


Map showing the Callahan Tunnel (in red)

The tunnel was opened in 1961. It was named for the son of Turnpike chairman William F. Callahan, who was killed in Italy just days before the end of World War II. Operatic tenor William Flavin, of Milton, Massachusetts, sang the Star-Spangled Banner and Danny Boy at the opening of the Callahan Tunnel in 1961.

In 2016, booth-less toll systems were installed in both directions, entering the Sumner Tunnel and exiting the Callahan Tunnel as part of a plan to revolutionize toll collection the Boston area.[2]

Historically, control signals were used to reverse direction of one lane in this tunnel or the Sumner Tunnel, when the opposite tunnel was closed for maintenance or emergencies. Under the relevant Turnpike regulations, a yellow signal light means "proceed only as directed", on penalty of a $50 fine. As the signals are almost always yellow, this rule is universally ignored by drivers.[citation needed] Other markings in the tunnel include a "double white line" in the center, intended to discourage drivers from changing lanes, to be penalized with a $100 fine.

The Callahan Tunnel was repaired in the 1990s.[3]

A major overhaul began in December 2013, which will completely replace the deck, curbs, and wall panels; and clean and repair its ceiling and vent systems (above the ceiling and below the deck). It was planned for three phases: complete closure from December 27, 2013 to March 12, 2014 during deck and curb replacement; closures 11pm-5am from March 13, 2014 to late August 2014 for wall panel replacement; and finish work until November, 2014. McCourt Construction of South Boston was awarded the $19.3M contract in August.[4] During closures, Logan-bound traffic is diverted into the Ted Williams Tunnel, Tobin Bridge, and Massachusetts Route 1A South via Revere or East Boston.[5] Starting with the Accelerated Bridge Program in the late 2000s, MassDOT began employing accelerated construction techniques, in which it signed contracts with incentives for early completion and penalties for late completion, and used intense construction during longer periods of complete closure to shorten the overall project duration and reduce cost.[6] These techniques are also being used for the Callahan Tunnel Rehabilitation Project.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Rehabilitation of the Sumner/Callahan Tunnels" (PDF). Concrete Repair Bulletin. International Concrete Repair Institute, Inc. May–June 2002. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Toll Rates". EZDRIVEMA. Retrieved 2 December 2016. 
  3. ^ Hanson, Melissa (27 December 2013). "Callahan Tunnel closure begins at 11 p.m.". Boston Globe. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Chesto, Jon (17 November 2013). "Here's what you need to know about the Callahan Tunnel's three-month closure". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Callahan Tunnel Rehabilitation Project". Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Moran, Jack (May–June 2012). "The Fast 14 Project". Public Roads. United States Federal Highway Administration. 75 (6). 

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 42°22′04″N 71°2′46″W / 42.36778°N 71.04611°W / 42.36778; -71.04611