On a personal note, I visited Boston in Summer 1995 and would not recognise the place if I went back there now (which I'd like to). I might have a photo or two of the elevated section if I raid the family photo album... I recall coming out of the Sumner Tunnel (or was it Callaghan) and emerging onto the toll plaza which then proceeded into a free-for-all as about 5 slip roads opened up pointing every which way. Good fun!
The Big Dig
The section in downtown Boston was reconstructed in one of the most expensive and dramatic projects in highway history. Known as "The Big Dig," upon completion the project sees the removal of the elevated "green elephant" through downtown (though part of the double deck in Charlestown will remain). Traffic is relocated to a system of tunnels, as well as a new 10 lane (six lanes northbound, four lanes southbound) cable-stayed bridge over the Charles River (plus the four-lane Leverett Circle Connector bridge). This new span replaces the original six-lane double decker bridge. More information is on the official website.
No ceremonies were held as the last section of new freeway for Interstate 93 opened to traffic. The December 20, 2003 completion of the southbound lanes through Interstate 93's tunnel marked the end of the $14.6 billion project. The often controversial project was $4 billion over budget, and the source of bitterness among residents and politicians the like. With roots stemming from 1987, the Big Dig even raised concerns of then President Ronald Reagan because of its overwhelming cost. Nonetheless, after years of construction, the Big Dig sees the removal of a city eyesore and traffic nightmare with the opening of two miles of underground roadway.
One and a half miles of green space will be found at the former location of the Interstate 93/Fitzgerald Expressway when all of the demolition work is complete. With the busy freeway underground, up to 8 acres of public park space will grace the city along the former alignment. Additionally land for new housing, shops, and cultural venues will be available. All in all 16 million cubic yards of dirt were excavated for the 7.5 miles that constitute the new tunnels created.
Unfortunately, the Big Dig has a lasting legacy. Its underwater tunnels have a tendency to leak (it will take ten years to fix the problem - by 2015 in some early reports), the project managers (Bechtel and Parsons Brinckerhoff) are accused of making decisions that resulted in extraordinary costs for the project, and the cost overruns have caused NBC News to refer to this project repeatedly on its "Fleecing of America" segment. For more detailed information on the Big Dig, we recommend the following sites: