Epic traffic paralyzes the Boston region as gridlock grips the halls of power

Gazing optimistically into the future, Mayor John B. Hynes declared on June 25, 1959, that the opening of the Southeast Expressway ushered in “a better Boston.” A freeway that could handle 50,000 cars a day, he said, met “one of the modern challenges of our times.”

How quaint that sounds today.

Hynes may have been right in the moment, but he couldn’t see the hellscape that was coming. Even with added lanes, that same highway gagged last year on a daily average of 200,000 cars. And more keep coming by the day, afflicting Boston with some of the nation’s worst congestion.