MassDOT: Milestones to be reached in next 2 days

6.7 million transactions under electronic tolling to date

Cars pass under toll sensor gantries hanging over the Massachusetts Turnpike, Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, in Newton, Mass. The state Department of Transportation is discussing plans for demolishing the tollbooths as it gets ready to implement an all-electronic tolling system on Interstate 90 which runs the length of the state. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Cars pass under toll sensor gantries hanging over the Massachusetts Turnpike, Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, in Newton, Mass. The state Department of Transportation is discussing plans for demolishing the tollbooths as it gets ready to implement an all-electronic tolling system on Interstate 90 which runs the length of the state. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

(MASSDOT) – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is pleased to announce that I-90 toll plaza demolition and road reconstruction activities are either on schedule or ahead of schedule at 23 work zones on the highway between the New York border and Boston and several sites are anticipated to be finishing the first phase of scheduled activities more than two-and-a-half weeks early. Phase 1 work is already completed at Interchange 15 in Weston, and MassDOT crews and contractors throughout the state are continuing to proceed with the toll demolition and road reconstruction process.

Weather permitting, Phase 1 work set to be completed ahead of the November 22 Phase 1 deadline is as follows:

  • Phase 1 work anticipated to be finished by late tomorrow, at interchange 2 in Lee
  • Phase 1 work is anticipated to be done at interchange 11 in Millbury tomorrow night
  • Phase 1 work anticipated to be finished by the end of the day tomorrow at interchange 37 at the Ted Williams Tunnel where I-90 east and Route 1A traffic enters the plaza
  • In addition, Phase 1 work is anticipated to be finished by late Saturday at interchange 3 in Westfield.

“We are very pleased with the progress being made with the removal of our toll plaza infrastructure,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin.  “Our contractors and MassDOT employees have been safely and aggressively implementing the management, design, and logistical plans for each specific work zone.  The driving public has helped us make this progress possible because travelers have been cooperative and courteous in going through work zones at slow speeds and following line markings, barrels, and jersey barriers defining the temporary lanes of travel.”

Those sites completing Phase 1 activities will now transition to Phase 2 tasks which focus on demolishing toll plaza infrastructure to the right and to the left of center areas.  Vehicles during Phase 2 will travel through the newly paved middle lane areas of plazas.  All toll plaza and road reconstruction activities are scheduled to be completed on I-90 by the end of 2017.  However, due to the progress being made, some sites may be finished sooner.

Phase 1 activities at the 23 work zones has involved the demolition of toll plaza infrastructure in the center areas of existing plazas.  This has included the demolition of metal canopies, toll booths, concrete “bull noses” and concrete slabs on the roadway.  Many toll plazas also have underground tunnels built to allow toll collectors to safety travel from the facility building to various booths as they begin and end their shifts.  Phase 1 work has included the demolition of the tunnels, backfilling the tunnel, adding bulkheads, and then rebuilding the road surface in the tunnel areas.

Completion of Phase 1 work involves milling, grading and paving activities to create new lanes of travel through the center areas.  As of today, the following are highlights of where work stands:

  • At interchange 1 in West Stockbridge milling and paving work will be completed tonight, now that the toll booth infrastructure has been demolished and removed from the center lane area.
  • In West Springfield, at interchange 4, and in Ludlow at interchange 7, tunnel demolition has been achieved and activities will be focusing on adding backfill to the tunnel in order for road reconstruction of the center area to begin.
  • In Palmer, at interchange 8, concrete demolition is scheduled today in the center areas where the canopy and booths in the center were demolished and tunnel backfilling operations are anticipated to occur tonight.
  • In Sturbridge, at interchange 9, backfilling of the tunnel occurred overnight last night and MassDOT crews and contractors will be doing center lane milling and grading activities for several days starting today with the anticipation of paving center lanes of travel by the middle of the day on Sunday.
  • At interchanges 10 and 10A in Auburn and Millbury, tunnel backfill work was done overnight last night and, weather permitting, paving operations in the center areas will occur late Friday night.
  • At the toll plaza sites in Allston/Brighton, backfill will be added to the tunnel at interchange 18 west through tomorrow morning and at interchange 18 east tunnel demolition will occur today with tunnel work to continue into the weekend.  AT interchange 19, bulkhead installation in the tunnel will begin today and for several days milling and grading work will be occurring.  At interchange 20, road reconstruction activities are occurring and final paving operations may begin Saturday night or Sunday morning.

The following statistics reflect activity:

  • 6,698,413 transactions were processed by the All Electronic Tolling gantries between 10:06 p.m., on Friday, and 8:00 a.m., today.
  • This includes 1,373,047 transactions processed between Wednesday at 8 a.m., and today at 8 a.m.
  • Approximately 83.7% of Wednesday’s transactions were automatically registered as valid E-ZPass transactions, while the rest will be reviewed or processed as Pay By Plate transactions.
  • 385 personnel were utilized for the work on toll plaza demolition and road reconstruction on Wednesday. This number includes 122 public safety and law enforcement personnel and includes 263 MassDOT and contractor personnel.
  • On Wednesday, 1,829 individuals were serviced at E-ZPass customer service locations throughout the state, and the E-ZPass customer phone line received 6,813 phone calls.
  • Since Go-Live on 10/28 through Wednesday, 7,925 individuals have been serviced at customer service locations.
  • Traffic volumes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning were comparable to a normal weekday.
  • 3% of toll booths demolished

With traffic expected to be impacted by the ongoing construction activities and traffic pattern shifts, drivers are advised to plan ahead and use the appropriate resources to make an informed decision regarding their travel plans. For traffic and road conditions, drivers may use the following options to make decisions:

  • Travelers, before getting on the highway, may utilize the MassDOT Real-Time Traffic (“Go-Time”) informational displays which are set up along I-90 for east and westbound travel between Sturbridge and Boston by visiting this link: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/highway/TrafficTravelResources/TrafficInformationMap.aspx
  • The public may dial 511 and select a route to hear real-time conditions on I-90 and other roads.
  • Visit mass511.com, a website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information, and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions.
  • Access MassDOT traffic cameras, including 10 new cameras on I-90 added this week: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/highway/TrafficTravelResources/TrafficInformationMap.aspx
  • Download Waze, the real-time traffic navigation app that provides motorists with real-time traffic conditions across Massachusetts.
  • Download the Ridewise app. Customers may use Ridewise to obtain travel times for various routes including portions of I-90.   The app is available on Android and iPhone. Drivers are advised not to use the app if they are operating a motor vehicle.

MassDOT suggests drivers may find these websites helpful:

Travelers should also visit the following websites of Regional Transit Authorities for information on public transportation in communities that are located near I-90:

Several days ago, MassDOT announced a “grace period” for drivers without transponders who then sign up for an E-Z PassMA account as the Commonwealth continues the transition to electronic tolling.  For information, please visit: www.ezdrivema.com.

MassDOT appreciates the patience of the public during the transition from manual toll collection and believes community members will soon see the benefits of electronic tolls, including, an increase in safety, a lessening of traffic congestion, and a reduction of greenhouse gases.

MassDOT will continue to have a robust public outreach process to inform about the progress of toll plaza demolition, new lanes of traffic patterns on I-90, and other AET developments with the use of real-time signboards along roads, via its Twitter feed, (@MassDOT), and through other communication tools.

Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead and allow extra time for travel.  Members of the public with concerns or questions can email Aetinfo@dot.state.ma.us.  For more information about gantry rates and for other details about the implementation of the EZDriveMA program, please visit: www.massdot.state.ma.us/allelectronictolling.

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