After four years of confusion caused by the extension of the Red Line to Porter Square, the construction in Harvard Square is almost complete one of the project's supervisors said yesterday.
Since construction began in 1978, traffic has been rerouted an sidewalks narrowed as construction has moved along Mass Ave from Harvard Station.
Patrick Flaherty, field engineer for the Perini Construction Company, said work on the Harvard Square based section of the subway tunnel is basically complete, with only "finish work" on interior insulation remaining.
Within two weeks, a new sidewalk will be laid in alongside Mass Ave in the Church St area. Flaherty-added. The removal of a construction harrier near the Church area will also allow another lane of traffic to flow through the Square, he said.
Yesterday, Cambridge police officers described traffic in the Square as "atrocious."
"I avoid the Square at all times when I can," said one policeman. When the sidewalk is widened and the two lanes are formed it'll practically eliminate the problem.
Some officers said they believe the main source of confusion in the Square has been student pedestrians, father than the construction.
Patrolman Robert O Harvey said earlier this week that all traffic would flow very smoothly of pedestrians would slow down and wait for the lights to change. As it is they jump out in front of the cars in a rush and make everything crazy."
The entire $573 million project slated for completion by 1984 involves construction of a subway tunnel from Harvard Square to an area near Alewife Brook Parkway. All construction in the Square including final cosmetic work will be completed in about one year. John A Carey, project manager for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said yesterday.
Workers said this week they are unsure whether they will meet the 1984 deadline. "We're messing everything up bad," said one worker who chose to remain anonymous "We're about eight years behind schedule," he added jokingly.
Several merchants said yesterday that the construction had affected business by making it difficult for pedestrians to reach their stores.