The closing of the Chelsea Street Bridge until December is a nightmare of the first order.
However, city officials here and in Boston have been in communication for quite some time and have made plans to deal with the situation in order to keep the traffic flowing, according to City Manager Jay Ash.
On the first day of the closure June 1, traffic appeared to move smoothly earlier in the day.
Obviously, there are no worries about the Chelsea Street Bridge as there is no longer any traffic going over it.
The problem intersection is where the Meridian Street Bridge entrance crosses with Williams and Marginal Streets and Pearl Street.
Even on the first day, traffic from that intersection stretched back to the salt piles and at times beyond.
“We are ready for contingencies,” said Ash. “We know the problem spot and we’re going to provide police officers for it.”
A Boston Police Officer directed traffic at the intersection of Meridian and Condor on the East Boston side of the beridge Wednesday at noon. The special detail was expected to be in place for the afternoon and including the rush hour.
According to Ash, there is the belief shared by Chelsea and Boston officials that traffic will be the worst in the initial phase of the closure.
“Once people are informed that the Chelsea Street Bridge is not open, they will use alternate routes,” he predicted. “As time goes by, traffic will decline and we are expecting no problems.”
For cab drivers who use the Meridian Street Bridge as the fastest closest route to Loggan Airport, the thought of long delays is nerve wracking.
“The summer months won’t be so bad,” said Arthur Smith, a long time cab driver.
“But what happens when oil tankers are using the Chelsea River in the fall and the Meridian Street Bridge is going up and down many times a day? What then?”
That’s a very good question.