Image of Boston's Central Artery/Tunnel Plan Boston's Central Artery/Tunnel Plan
Boston’s Central Artery/Tunnel Plan, Frederick Salvucci, 1970s

Since the damming of the Charles River in the 1800s, nothing has reshaped the face of Boston more profoundly than the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, also known as the “Big Dig". The megaproject buried the aging Central Artery elevated highway, reconnected the city with its waterfront, opened a third harbor tunnel, cut back pollution, and gave Boston a new landmark—the Leonard Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge. The biggest highway construction project in the United States, the $15 billion-plus Big Dig not only sped traffic flow on what had been the country’s most overloaded roads, but also fit within a grand scheme to minimize Boston’s dependence on the automobile and maximize public transportation. The effort was shepherded patiently for many years by Frederick Salvucci, ’61, SM ’62, longtime Commonwealth Secretary of Transportation, transportation system expert, and now MIT senior lecturer.

Loaned to the MIT Museum by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Highway Division.

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