East Boston’s elected officials and District 7 Captain Kelly McCormick have expressed their frustrations over the lack of use of the Marty Coughlin Bypass Road—a half-mile road extending under Day Square to Chelsea Street designed to remove Logan Airport related traffic from East Boston’s residential streets–by 18-wheelers.
Anyone driving through Day Square during the morning rush still complains that airport related traffic is clogging Neptune Road and Day Square.
The community’s frustration turned into reality last week after two 18-wheelers were stuck under the Neptune Road viaduct trying to make the turn onto Route 1A ramp from Logan Airport’s service road.
During the morning commute on Monday, March 19 and again later that evening, two 18-wheelers got stuck under the viaduct causing traffic in Eastie to come to a standstill as crews worked to free the trucks.
Last week’s accidents was by far some of the worst with Bennington, and Saratoga Street traffic was backed up from Day Square to Orient Heights.
It took close to an hour for motorists to make their way through Eastie.
In 2012 Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) cut the ribbon and officially opened the Coughlin Bypass Road.
However, residents who anxiously awaited the opening of the $23.5 million road as a way to curb rush hour gridlock in the neighborhood are complaining that airport related cargo trucks like 18-wheelers are still using neighborhood streets and clogging traffic in Day Square.
For its part, Massport has started a campaign to ensure the road is used regularly by airport traffic.
Massport has been monitoring the use of the road since its opening and have conducted several outreach campaigns in an effort to get more vehicles using the road.
Massport officials have said while they can’t require vehicles to use the bypass road, added signage and increased marketing to freight companies that use the road to get to Logan has helped curbed the number of accidents by trucks under the viaduct as well as airport traffic clogging Day Square.
However, after the most recent accidents, several residents pointed out that signage improvements before the bypass road could curb the number of incidents of large trucks ending up on neighborhood streets.
Signs leading to the bypass road only read “Chelsea” with an arrow pointing left. Many truck drivers are probably unaware that they can take the Bypass Road to Chelsea Street and then get on Route 1A heading south via Curtis Street.
Some have suggested the signs should not only read ‘Chelsea’ but also something alerting truckers that there is a Route 1A South and/or U-Turn to Boston option at the end of the bypass road.