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Governor Charlie Baker

MassDOT April
Board Meeting

April 15
Transportation Building
10 Park Plaza
Suite 3830
Boston, MA 02150
Full Meeting Schedule

On the MassDOT Blog

New Whittier Bridge
Evokes Classic Design

The John Greenleaf Whittier Memorial Bridge across the Merrimack River was dedicated in 1954 to honor the acclaimed 19th century poet and abolitionist from Haverhill. But when the Massachusetts Department of Public Works (MDPW) designed the span linking Amesbury and Newburyport, they had someone else in mind:
Charles Milton Spofford

The original John Greenleaf Whittier Bridge over the Merrimack River (above), now under construction. A rendering of the new Whittier Bridge (below), showing two parallel network tied-arch main spans. Each structure will carry four lanes plus shoulders and a shared-use path on the northbound structure.

Photo/image credits: HNTB

View the entire
Whittier Bridge Design
blog post.

The new Whittier will be the first network tied arch bridge in Massachusetts and one of only seven such bridges in the U.S. One of the others is the "new" Lake Champlain Bridge, which replaced the original, demolished in 2009. The firm preparing the final design of the new Whittier, HNTB, designed five of the seven bridges, including the new Lake Champlain Bridge.

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March 20, 2015

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Winter Recovery Assistance Program

Today, the Baker-Polito Administration launched the Winter Recovery Assistance Program, a $30 million targeted effort to assist cities and towns with repairs to roads and bridges under municipal jurisdiction.

"Since day one, we promised to partner with our cities and towns to provide them with the support needed to keep local infrastructure in reliable shape," said Governor Charlie Baker. "After an unprecedented winter of heavy snowfall and frigid temperatures, this additional support will allow municipalities to patch up potholes and address local repairs as needed."

"This winter's record-setting snowfall has left our cities and towns with a major maintenance deficit that needs to be addressed immediately," said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. "This program provides municipalities with additional resources to accelerate those repairs and make our roadways safer for everyone."

"While we strive to invest in the maintenance of the state's highway infrastructure, it's important to remember how vital a role our municipal roads and bridges play in the state's economy and to our overall transportation network," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack.

The $30 million has been allocated from the existing fiscal 2015 bond authorization for the Department of Transportation. While the WRAP is a distinct effort separate from the Chapter 90 program, to ensure equity, the funds will be distributed to cities and towns based on the Chapter 90 formula. The Chapter 90 formula determines the apportionment of funding for municipal roads and bridges based on a weighted average of a city or town's population, employment, and total mileage of roads. The attached spreadsheet lists how the $30 million are apportioned to each city or town using the formula. Under the WRAP, cities and towns can seek reimbursement from MassDOT on expenditures related to patching potholes, pavement cracking, surface defects, paving projects; repair or replacement of damaged signs, guardrail, storm drains, and line striping.

"This program is a signal to cities and towns that we recognize the importance of these roads and bridges, and the urgency with which they need to be repaired," said MassDOT Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin.

In order to accelerate local repairs, the WRAP requires all work on municipal infrastructure to be completed by June 30, 2015, and for all work invoices to be provided to MassDOT by July 31, 2015. MassDOT will reimburse cities and towns as invoices are received.

Please view the WRAP apportionment list.

First MBTA Refurbished Green Line Trolleys Delivered

Refurbished Green Line trolleys have started to make their way back to Boston, following significant work at the Alstom plant in New York.

"This is a great first step toward improving service on the Green Line," said interim MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola. "As these cars are re-introduced to the fleet, customers will notice gradual improvements in capacity and reliability."

The Green Line Type 7 fleet includes 86 Light Rail Vehicles which entered service in 1986 and 1987 and are nearing the end of their intended design life. Each car’s systems require significant work to restore them from a deteriorated condition or complete replacement to ensure the vehicles can continue to provide safe and reliable operation.

The $104.4 million project includes preserving the integrity of the vehicle structure, roof, and exterior and improving the reliability of the fleet. Systems are being replaced or upgraded while others are being overhauled, including the following:

  • Replacement: upgrade design HVAC, Motor Alternator/Low Voltage Power Supply, Auxiliary Lighting, Certain Cab Equipment, Door Open Indicators, in-kind Flooring, Seats, Insulation
  • Overhaul: Structure, Roof, Exterior Skin, Door System, Brake Equipment, Trucks, Propulsion

All refurbished cars are inspected, cleaned and subjected to extensive testing prior to being returned to service. The first car will enter passenger service in early April. The current refurbishment schedule calls for approximately half of the 86 trolleys to be returned to service by next winter, and the other half by the end of 2016.

Monthly Commuter Rail CharlieCards Available Beginning in April

MBTA interim General Manager Frank DePaola announced that CharlieCards with monthly passes printed on them are available for Corporate Pass Program participants and customers who make monthly pass purchases on the MBTA website.

The CharlieCard monthly passes replace paper tickets, which are not as durable as the plastic smartcards. Commuter Rail passes purchased by vending machines or at sales offices will continue to be delivered in ticket form.

The MBTA in January began testing of the CharlieCards printed with a monthly commuter rail pass. General Manager DePaola said the pilot program received overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers. The CharlieCard commuter rail passes are used as ‘flash passes’ on board commuter rail trains and then used like any other CharlieCard for bus and subway service.

Commuter rail customers are encouraged to visit MBTA Commuter Rail Fares and Passes online to purchase an April commuter rail pass.

MBTA Commuter Rail Service Restoration Continues

Keolis Commuter Service this week continued to restore service with an additional 42 MBTA Commuter Rail trains as of Monday, March 16. Keolis has committed to restoring full service by March 30. This week marked the largest number of commuter trains restored to service since the recovery schedule was put in place after winter storms impacted the commuter rail fleet.

Keolis has now returned 82% of the normal train fleet back into service, enabling the restoration of these routes a week ahead of schedule, with approximately 75% of the regular weekday schedule restored, up from 64% the previous week.

Weekday Service recovery will take place in stages with updates to various lines each Monday in March and the resumption of full service on March 30. Weekend schedules remain in full service with no changes.

Check the updated commuter rail schedules on the web:

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