Gliding Through the Big Dig on a Cushion of Paranoia

The tunnels of “Big Dig” — the project to bury the elevated expressway through downtown Boston — are closed during evening throughout this week, presumably because they pass near the Fleet Center, and would thus be a terrorism conduit.

Tonight, when heading out of the Center to make my way home, I noticed a “shuttle buses this way” sign in the corner of my eye. Hmmmm, I thought. Perhaps I can save the walk-subway-shuttle hassle and go direct. Sure enough, there was a special shuttle for my hotel — the Sheraton Braintree.

I made my way through the various gates and checkpoints (I had to show my credentials to be allowed to get on the bus), and ten minutes after I boarded, the bus (from the “Peter Pan” company, no less) glided down onto the “closed” expressway, allowed to do this because of a special “we’re an authorized bus” sign in the front window. We carried a Boston Police officer aboard for the entire trip — there’s one assigned to every bus.

And there was no traffic. None. We had the expressway to ourselves. This is, I hazard a guess, every Boston commuters dream. And I got to live it.

We made it to Quincy in 15 minutes flat, and I was walking in the hotel’s front door 30 minutes after we left the Fleet Center. Amazing.