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On the MassDOT Blog

I-91 Viaduct Project Introduces Dynamic Lane Merge Pilot Program

Beginning in mid to late December, drivers will notice some new message signs on I-91 South as they approach the work zone of the I-91 Viaduct Rehabilitation Project in Springfield.

View the entire I-91 Viaduct Project blog post.

MassDOT is implementing a pilot program for a Dynamic Lane Merge System to improve traffic flow and increase safety where the lanes on I-91 South drop from two to one. MassDOT received a number of comments from drivers that expressed concerns about safety issues at the merge. The pilot program is expected to address these concerns and alleviate issues of safety and congestion.

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December 16, 2016

MBTA Purchases an Additional 120 New Red Line Cars


In a move that will result in an entirely new fleet of MBTA Red Line cars, the Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) voted to order 120 additional Red Line cars from the CRRC MA Corporation.

Having an entire fleet comprised of the same make and model has multiple operational and maintenance benefits, and customers will be provided with more trains that run more frequently and reliably.

"This decision represents a new day for the MBTA, one that that the Fiscal and Management Control Board has been working so hard to build as they take the lead on improving service for customers," said Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack. "The new approach with this decision was to ask the question, 'What are the actual needs of the customer and of the fleet for Red Line service.' The answer came back that one standardized fleet would increase the number of customers transported per hour by 30,000 and would make for more efficient maintenance. With this decision, the T is now on track to have a new Red Line fleet with sufficient capacity to run about 50 percent more trains at rush hour and to reduce the time customers have to wait for a Red Line train to only about three minutes."

Currently on order from the CRRC MA Corporation, 132 Red Line cars will already replace the oldest cars in the Red Line fleet by 2022. This leaves eighty-four cars in need of extensive overhauls and upgrades in order to maintain reliable service levels. Instead of overhauling and upgrading these eighty-four cars, the FMCB approved the MBTA's proposed recommendation to replace them with new cars, increasing the current order by 120 with an option to purchase an additional fourteen. The MBTA estimates this replacement along with minor speed code changes will boost capacity by fifty percent, raising the current number of trains per hour from thirteen to twenty. The new cars also have the latest propulsion and braking systems, allowing the achievement of a three-minute headway target, reducing customer wait times. With a larger standardized fleet comprised entirely of new cars, the MBTA will also be able to implement a life-cycle maintenance program, resulting in better maintained vehicles, fewer disabled trains and breakdowns causing service interruptions, and an extended service life of at least thirty years.

As part of the 2014 contract, CRRC continues to build a new plant for the final assembly of the new Red Line cars. Completion of the facility is expected in September 2017 with manufacturing to begin in April 2018. CRRC has estimated that the plant will create at least 150 new permanent jobs in Springfield. The MBTA noted that increasing the number of Red Line cars purchased from CRRC adds more job opportunities at the Springfield production facility.

The FMCB authorized MBTA management to spend up to $277 million for the procurement of the 120 cars, with an option to acquire an additional fourteen cars, along with associated capital spare parts and an extension of the technical support period.

Allston/Brighton: I-90 Traffic Pattern Shift Ahead of Schedule


Pictured to the right: Toll Plaza Reconstruction, Allston/Brighton, November 6th

MassDOT announced a traffic pattern shift along I-90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike) at Interchange 19 in Allston/Brighton beginning in the evening hours of Wednesday, December 14th.

This shift allows for Stage 3 construction operations as part of the toll demolition and road reconstruction process along I-90.

These activities were scheduled to take place in 2017 but due to the work of MassDOT crews and contractors and favorable work conditions, these shifts are being implemented months ahead of schedule at this location

  • Crews will begin shifting traffic on I-90 eastbound at Interchange 19 into the Stage 3 configuration.
  • The new pattern will move this traffic to the outer limits of the existing toll plaza.
  • This traffic pattern will be maintained through spring 2017.

Check the Toll Plaza Demolition Project website for more information. These operations are weather dependent and subject to change. Travelers are encouraged to devote their full attention to driving through construction zones. They should minimize distractions, put away their cellphones, always wear their seatbelts, and utilize MassDOT’s many travel resources in order to make informed decisions regarding their travel plans.

Driving in Winter Cold Weather: Be Prepared

winter traffic

Before you travel during cold weather, be prepared!

Check MassDOT’s tips for preparing your vehicle for winter driving and carrying important winter car supplies in your vehicle.

Preparing your vehicle for winter driving

Keeping your vehicle in top operating condition is especially important to avoid any inconvenient or unsafe situation while traveling in frigid weather. Check the following:

  • Ignition system
  • Fuel system
  • Belts
  • Fluid levels
  • Brakes
  • Exhaust system
  • Wiper blades and windshield washer fluid
  • Snow tires
  • Tire tread and pressure
  • Defroster
  • Proper grade oil
  • Cooling system
  • Battery
  • Lights
  • Antifreeze

Always fill the gasoline tank before a long trip or even for a short distance. Stop to fill-up long before the tank begins to run low. In addition:

  • Clear all windows and lights of frost and snow
  • Drive with your headlights on.
  • Stock your car with basic winter driving equipment: A scraper and brush, small shovel, jumper cables, tow chain and a bag of sand or cat litter for tire traction. (See Winter car supplies below.)
  • Also include road flares, a blanket, heavy boots, warm clothing, and flashlight with batteries.

Winter car supplies: Keep winter car supplies that can assist you in case of an emergency. Here is a list of items to consider carrying:

  • Booster cables
  • Two or more blankets
  • Snow shovel and scraper
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Extra clothing: cap, mittens, parka and overshoes or boots in case you have to walk for help.
  • High calorie, non-perishable food like candy and canned nuts.
  • Sand or strips of carpet for traction.
  • Extra windshield washer fluid and antifreeze
  • Flares or reflectors
  • Cloth/paper towels
  • Piece of bright cloth

For more information, we invite you to review MassDOT’s Safe Winter Driving Tips.

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