MassDOT to measure effect of back-to-school traffic; pilot reduces idling/greenhouse gas emissions
BOSTON – Tuesday, August 20, 2013 – Today, MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola announced the continuation of the congestion relief pilot at the I-90/I-95 Interchange in Weston. Following a successful trial period so far, MassDOT overnight tonight will take another step toward making the traffic pattern permanent by removing cones and barrels and striping the roadway to further reduce driver hesitation around the traffic pattern.
“The summer results have been encouraging, in terms of reducing traffic delays and cutting associated emissions,” said Administrator DePaola. “We have heard from members of the public, and we agree, that we need to evaluate how back-to-school volumes will impact this traffic pattern before a final decision is made to make the pattern permanent.”
During the peak morning periods, delays experienced by Pike eastbound travelers destined for I-95 north have decreased by an approximate average of 20 minutes by the removal of the double merge. As expected, delays experienced by I-95 northbound travelers have increased slightly, by approximately one to two minutes. Field observations suggest that part of that increase is due to driver confusion caused by the cones, barrels, and electronic message boards that were used during the trial phase of this project. By removing the cones, barrels, and boards, and using roadway markings to indicate the lane reduction, MassDOT expects I-95 northbound travel times to decrease slightly improve and return to a level closer to travel times before the trial started.
In this area, I-95 northbound is four lanes wide with the right-most lane carrying through traffic and vehicles that are merging onto I-95 northbound from the Mass Pike and Route 30. This double-merge point causes traffic to back up through the Toll Plaza and onto I-90. By closing the right lane to I-95 northbound travelers, it becomes a dedicated lane for MassPike/Route 30 travelers to merge onto I-95 northbound.
A third of all traffic on I-95 northbound exits at Exit 23-24-25, and a recent traffic count showed 10 percent of vehicles continuing north on I-95 utilize the right lane.
The pilot, which began on July 17, will continue indefinitely and is part of a joint effort with the Federal Highway Administration and local planning agencies to implement low-cost changes to reduce congestion. Roadway users may comment on their experience by visiting the MassDOT blog: www.mass.gov/blog/transportation.
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