High Visibility Automated Gates

Automated warning signage

Sumner Tunnel, MA


Boston, MA




Managed Lanes Access Control

About this project

In 2017, MassDOT removed the existing toll plaza structure at the entrance of the Sumner Tunnel in East Boston. The toll plaza demolition and road reconstruction operations at the tunnel entrance coincided with an increase in tunnel traffic which caused congestion issues in the area. In 2019, a new approach was adopted to help manage traffic effectively and reduce congestion at the tunnel entrance. As part of this initiative, Versilis was selected by MassDOT to supply an automated warning gate system at the tunnel approach to allow efficient closures and openings of traffic lanes based on daily traffic patterns.


  • A solution was needed to reduce congestion at the tunnel entrance and facilitate access points management
  • A managed lane operation requires extensive traffic control to open and close the access points
  • An automated gate system that could be controlled from the Highway operations Center (HOC) was required by MassDOT
  • Standard traffic cones used to delineate the closures offer a limited surface of reflective material and their lack of visibility creates a safety issue.


The Versilis automated lane closure solution consists of a series of gates installed at the tunnel approach. MassDOT refers to this infrastructure as a “swing gate system”. A similar solution provided by Versilis is in service on the I-93 HOV lane in Massachusetts. The Versilis SwiftGates HSG-18CW can be retracted, to add an additional travel lane into the tunnel, or deployed, to close the right lane of Route 1A Southbound. The automated gate system aims to improve traffic flow coming from East Boston into the tunnel. The swing gate system is integrated with variable message signs and lane use control signals, controlled remotely from MassDOT HOC, to alert drivers that a lane is closed. The “swing lane” is closed during the peak morning hours to allow vehicles coming from Porter Street to access Route 1A into the tunnel.. The lane is open during other hours to provide additional access for traffic on Route 1A.

A taper of automated gates can be deployed in less than 5 minutes. The Versilis SwiftGate HSG-18CW is crash tested to NCHRP-350 requirements. Each gate has a very narrow mechanism footprint, allowing installation on a narrow median barrier wall. Gate arms offer increased visibility in order to send a clear message to motorists that an access is closed. The Versilis communication hardware allows different operation and monitoring options, as well as easy integration into a TMC system using NTCIP protocol.


  • Optimized traffic flow into the Sumner tunnel from East Boston
  • Reduced worker exposure to live traffic and improved efficiency with the automated operation
  • Improved flexibility by allowing lane openings and closures based on traffic patterns
  • Increased motorist safety with highly visible and crash tested gates

Project photo gallery