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Boston Central Artery/Tunnel

United States (1991-2006)

 Boston Central Tunnel

The Boston Central Artery/Tunnel Project was the largest and most complex urban transportation project ever undertaken in the United States. The project was the result of more than 30 years of planning and 12 years of construction to replace the elevated section of Interstate 93 Central Artery through downtown Boston with a much wider underground highway and to extend the Interstate 90 turnpike to Logan Airport via a third harbor tunnel. Among the only other transportation projects on this large a scale were the Panama Canal and the Channel Tunnel.

The project comprised 161 lane-miles of interstate highway--over half of it underground. Its host of civil engineering firsts included the world's widest cable-stayed bridge, the deepest underwater connection in North America, state-of-the-art freeway segments built only inches above 19th century public transit railways, and an unprecedented ground-freezing program to stabilize Boston's historic soils during construction. The project has been widely recognized through dozens of awards for engineering excellence and aesthetics.

Boston is already becoming known for the the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge over the Charles River. Atlanta and other cities have requested similar designs. Swiss bridge designer Christian Menn won approval for his willowy cable-stayed bridge, a design that ties cables from the roadbed directly to the support towers. Asymmetrical, it carries two outer lanes cantilevered on its east side. An additional eight lanes pass through the legs of the twin 91-meter, obelisk-topped, inverted Y towers which echo the nearby Bunker Hill Monument. The 10-lane, 56-meter-wide structure picks up Interstate 93 traffic as it emerges from the new Central Artery tunnel and carries it across the Charles River to points north.

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