Traffic was not nearly as bad as expected Thursday morning, when the city shut down Exit 2 on Route 34 and directed cars on alternate routes.
That’s the report from various safety officials on the scene Thursday, when the city conducted a major traffic shift associated with the Downtown Crossing Project, which aims to turn the Route 34 mini-highway into mixed-use developments that will knit downtown back together with the Hill neighborhood.
Closing Exit 2 was the third recent traffic reconfiguration as part of the project. In recent weeks, the city converted two blocks of George Street into a two-way street. And the city closed the hair-pin turn drivers used to be able to use to get off Route 34 Exit 1 and head towards State Street.
That second change caused traffic to back up as drivers puzzled over alternate routes.
Thursday’s change went smoother, according to city transit chief Doug Hausladen and public officials assigned to intersections around the area.
“The last few days, traffic has been backing up past the train tracks,” as cars get off of I-91 or I-95 onto Route 34, said Hausladen.
“This morning, people were getting through in one light cycle,” he said. “It was fantastic.”
Mike Esposito (pictured), a high-voltage splicer who works at United Illuminating, showed up at 8:45 a.m. on George Street, not far from the Exit 1 off-ramp, to jump into a manhole and hand up a splicer box to city officials working in the area. He watched the traffic from the street as he waited to finish his job.
“We thought it would be bad down here,” he said of the traffic. “It was moving at a good clip.”
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