MassDOT issues Columbus Day traffic advisory: Plan ahead and expect high volume of traffic

by | Oct 7, 2021

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is reminding members of the public to plan ahead for the upcoming Columbus Day weekend, drive in off-peak hours if possible, utilize the appropriate technology tools to make informed decisions, consider public transportation to reach destinations, and bring a face-covering as some municipalities have a mask mandate.

“We expect higher traffic volume than normal starting on Thursday so anyone traveling should allow extra time to reach destinations,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “Travelers should also note that the 2021 Boston Marathon will occur on Monday, October 11, and that means some road closures between Hopkinton and Boston and means the MBTA will make some schedule changes and close several stations in Boston. As always, the public should plan ahead and adjust travel times as appropriate for scheduled events, for the weather and to avoid the peak hours when others will be on the roads.”

MassDOT is taking several steps to ensure reliable travel for the public. Scheduled construction outside of fixed work zones will be shut down beginning at 5:00 a.m. on Friday, October 8. Scheduled road work will then resume at 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 12.

The High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on I-93 between Boston and Quincy will be open during normal morning hours on Thursday, October 7, and Friday, October 8, from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. The lane will have extended hours of 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 7, and 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, October 8. On Monday, October 11, the HOV lane will be closed and the HOV lane will resume its normal operations on Tuesday, October 12.

The additional “swing lane” on Route 1A southbound at the Sumner Tunnel will operate during its normal hours on Friday, October 8, from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. The lane will not be deployed on Monday, October 11, and will resume normal operations on Tuesday, October 12.

MassDOT’s Highway Assistance Program, sponsored by MAPFRE, will be increasing patrols on all major roadways to support roadside assistance needs. Requests for assistance can be initiated by calling 911.

Anyone traveling on the MBTA should check schedules: Due to the Boston Marathon occurring on Monday, October 11, the MBTA will be closing several stations, including Copley Square in Boston for a period of time on October 11.

Customers are also advised that Commonwealth of Massachusetts offices, including the Registry of Motor Vehicles customer service locations, are closed for the designated state holiday on Monday, October 11. Please visit the RMV online at any time to skip the line and perform miore than forty transactions. Meanwhile, AAA members may visit any AAA location by appointment for some Registry transactions.

Drivers are reminded not to litter on roadways. Violators are subject to a fine of up to $5,500 for the first offense.

For more information on traffic conditions, travelers are also encouraged to:

Dial 511 and select a route to hear real–time conditions.
Visit, a website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions.
Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT to receive regular updates on road and traffic conditions.
Download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation wishes all members of the public a safe and enjoyable holiday.