Boston – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing that a number of tools are available for drivers as the Commonwealth transitions to All Electronic Tolling (AET). MassDOT urges the public to use these tools because traffic will be impacted as toll plaza demolition and road reconstruction occurs in 23 work zones after AET “goes live” on Friday, October 28, at 10 p.m., along I-90, the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Drivers are cautioned that beginning at 10 p.m., Friday, the 15 mph speed limit that exists today at toll plazas will stay in effect through November 22, as construction crews shift the traffic patterns and begin the process of demolishing the center areas of existing toll plazas and reconstructing the roadways in those center areas. Drivers should allow extra time to reach destinations, consider traveling by mass transit if possible, and obey directions on posted signs and by law enforcement officers who will be present.
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 www.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 visit http://www.mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/rail/ for the MBTA’s full commuter rail schedule and maps. They should note that the MBTA’s commuter rail line between Boston and Worcester stops at destinations in many of the communities along I-90.
• Access a map of the MBTA’s subway lines by visiting http://www.mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/subway/
• Visit http://www.mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/bus/ for the MBTA’s full bus schedule list and maps.
• See https://www.amtrak.com/lake-shore-limited-train for information on Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited route, which services Boston, Framingham, Worcester, Springfield and Pittsfield.
• Visit http://www.massridematch.org/ for further options on public, private, and non-profit transportation options.
Travelers should also visit the following websites of Regional Transit Authorities for information on public transportation in communities that are located near I-90:
• Berkshire Regional Transit Authority: http://www.berkshirerta.com
• Pioneer Valley Transit Authority: http://www.pvta.com
• Worcester Regional Transit Authority: http://www.therta.com
• MetroWest Regional Transit Authority: http://www.mwrta.com
The schedule for the transition to All Electronic Tolling and toll demolition is generally as follows:
On October 28, at 8:00 p.m., MassDOT contractors will start mobilizing equipment to prepare for the activation of All Electronic Tolling, and at 9:45 p.m., cash tolling will be suspended. All Electronic Tolling will officially “go-live” on I-90 at 10:00 p.m., and gantries will be activated to begin to collect vehicle information as vehicles travel the highway.
Immediately after “go live”, crews stationed at every toll plaza location along I-90 will then begin setting up the new traffic patterns by installing jersey barriers and orange construction barrels, pavement markings, and electronic message boards to divert vehicles from the center areas of toll plazas and prepare for the initial stage of toll plaza demolition. MassDOT will deploy 64 “arrow boards” along I-90, and approximately 24 lift trucks state-wide in the evening of October 28. The lift trucks will assist employees in covering existing “Cash” and “E-ZPass” signs at plaza booths and will also be unveiling new gantry rate signs. An estimated 107 law enforcement details and more than 100 workers, including laborers, foremen, and supervisors will be utilized at “go-live” time in the evening of October 28.
During the day on Saturday, October 29, and on Sunday, October 30, contractors will continue setting up logistics at 23 work zones along I-90 and late Sunday will begin demolishing the center areas of existing toll plazas. Phase one of plaza demolition will remove utilities from the plaza areas, fill in any underground tunnels, remove booths in the center areas of the plazas, and remove cement slabs at plazas as traffic is detoured to the right and to the left of the center toll plaza areas.
Due to the end of manual toll collection and the transition to the EZDriveMA program and website, online tolling transactions will be unavailable from Friday night through 7 a.m., on Tuesday, November 1. To allow the public to still obtain a transponder, MassDOT has expanded hours at customer service centers. In addition, a “grace period” policy is in effect which allows drivers without transponders the opportunity to obtain a transponder and receive the discount they would have had if the vehicle was equipped with a transponder as of October 28 at 10 p.m. 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