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Cape Cod drivers advised to allow extra time to Logan


Boston is now in its ninth day of the Sumner Tunnel closure and things are going about as well as expected.

The Sumner is one route that people living south of Boston would normally use to get home from Logan Airport. It closed on July 5th for repairs and is expected to reopen after August 31st.

Dean Athenas, the owner of Green Shuttle in Pocassett, is familiar with the airport route.

His company is a car service that makes about 20 trips to and from Logan each day. Their customers live on Cape Cod, the South Coast, and Rhode Island.

Athenas says, at the start of the closure, his service planned on leaving 45 minutes early for each trip to Logan and they expected at least that much delay coming back from Logan.

By the end of this week, his drivers reported that getting to Logan has been taking an extra 20 minutes while getting home is taking between 30 minutes and an hour longer than usual.

Athenas says his philosophy for getting to the airport comes from personal experience of traveling years ago with his wife.

“One time, we literally watched our flight fly over our heads on the expressway, and I said, ‘This ain’t going to happen again,’” he told CAI.

“What I tell people is, just get to the airport, have a coffee, go to Dunkin Donuts, relax, get through security. And then you’re there. Rather than cutting it close.”

This week, Tuesday was supposed to be the first real test of the Sumner Tunnel closure because the first few days were right after the Fourth of July holiday and many Bostonians were still on vacation.

As predicted, there were significant backups at the Tobin Bridge and the Ted Williams Tunnel.

By one estimate, it was taking double the usual time to get from Revere over the Tobin Bridge.

GBH Boston asked commuter Nathanial Robinson to place traffic on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst.

“It's crazy,” Robinson said. “I think just everything hitting at once in the city. I'd say it's a 10. It's that bad.”

State officials have said they'll adjust the Sumner detours as needed. They’ve also been urging people to take public transit instead. The MBTA is offering free and reduced fares on the Blue Line and several commuter rail lines for the duration of the Sumner closure. They’ve also expanded ferry service from Lynn.

Elsa Partan is a producer and newscaster with CAI. She first came to the station in 2002 as an intern and fell in love with radio. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. From 2006 to 2009, she covered the state of Wyoming for the NPR member station Wyoming Public Media in Laramie. She was a newspaper reporter at The Mashpee Enterprise from 2010 to 2013. She lives in Falmouth with her husband and two daughters.