Offers tips and tools to help plan ahead, asks motorists to closely monitor varying weather and roadway conditions
BOSTON (Thursday, December 20, 2012)— MassDOT encourages residents and visitors to drive safely and use public transportation where possible during the upcoming holidays. With some wintry weather in the forecast, drivers should be prepared to encounter varying roadway conditions as they head to their holiday destinations.
“Over the next several weeks our customers will be traveling to enjoy time with family and friends,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. “Designating a sober driver is the responsible way to celebrate the season.”
“Historically the days surrounding Christmas and New Year’s do not bring the traffic crunch seen around Thanksgiving, on Fridays in the summer or ahead of long weekends in the fall,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola. “Travelers, however, should anticipate congestion and be alert when approaching popular shopping malls and plazas.”
Drivers should expect holiday heavy volume on the Massachusetts Turnpike, I-90, at Exit 9 connecting I-84 to Connecticut and New York. Drivers are encouraged to consider travel during the early morning or after 8 p.m. Traffic congestion is also typical at the I-95 and I-495 Turnpike interchanges along with I-495 and I-93 northbound leading into New Hampshire.
MassDOT’s cash collection tollbooths will be adequately staffed for the anticipated travel volume and any traffic associated with last minute shoppers, especially on Friday, Saturday and Christmas Eve.
To avoid cash tolls, ‘E-ZPass On the Go’ transponders are available at all 11 Massachusetts Turnpike Service Plazas and make good last minute stocking stuffers. MassDOT has sold approximately 7000 On the Go transponders since they debuted this summer.
For those commuters working Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, MassDOT will not deploy the HOV lane on the Southeast Expressway in anticipation of a lighter than normal rush. The HOV lane will remain closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Free coffee will be served at all 18 MassDOT service plazas courtesy of McDonalds, Burger King, and Gulf between 10 p.m. on Christmas night, Tuesday, December 25, until 5 a.m. on Wednesday, December 26, and between 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Monday, December 31, until 5 a.m. on Tuesday, January 1, 2013.
MassDOT’s Traffic and Travel Resources page includes links to all MassDOT travel resources. Visit MassDOT’s online traffic camera webpage with more than 90 live traffic cameras throughout the highway system. The cameras refresh every 10 seconds to provide real time traffic views. The 511 traffic alert system alerts customers to traffic conditions throughout the holiday weekend.
The MBTA Christmas Day through New Year’s Day holiday service schedule includes a Sunday service schedule for Tuesday, December 25 and Tuesday, January 1, 2013. The T provides additional trains and FREE service after 8:00pm on New Year’s Eve, December 31. Check out the full T schedule at www.mbta.com.
In case of wintry travel weather, motorists should drive with headlights on, observe posted speed limits, never drink and drive, make sure everyone is using a seatbelt and be on the lookout for changing weather conditions. More information on safe winter driving is available at the MassDOT website.
For transportation news and updates visit MassDOT at our website: www.mass.gov/massdot, blog: www.mass.gov/blog/transportation, or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot and Facebook at www.facebook.com/massdotinfo.