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On the Trans Blog
Army Corps: Sagamore Bridge Repairs Resume in March

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says deck repairs and paving on the Sagamore Bridge spanning the Cape Cod Canal are scheduled to restart as soon as March 1 and continue until late spring 2010.

Route 9 Burns Bridge Public Meeting

A Public Information Meeting for the Kenneth F. Burns Memorial Bridge Replacement Project, Route 9 over Lake Quinsigamond, is set for Thursday, March 11th.

Green Line Extension Field Work Locations

MassDOT is performing field work for the Green Line extension to Somerville and Medford. Work includes field surveys, noise and vibration testing, and soil borings.

BU Bridge Closure

The Boston University Bridge over the Charles River between Cambridge and Boston, will be closed to traffic from 9 PM to 5 AM, Sunday through Thursday, next week. The upstream sidewalk will remain open during the bridge closure for bicycle and pedestrian access. Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead and seek alternative routes during the closures.

MassDOT crews will be completing demolition work as part of the first phase of construction on the Boston University Bridge Rehabilitation Project. All Cambridge-to-Boston traffic and Boston-to-Cambridge traffic will be detoured to the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge. Buses and emergency vehicles will be permitted to cross the bridge. Learn more about Governor Patrick's Accelerated Bridge Program.

The Road to Reform

Transportation Employees: Customer Focus

MBTA employees hard work and professionalism were on display and making a difference for commuters in the past week in two separate incidents.

Hard work by T crews early Friday morning, February 19 following the crash of a vehicle into a Red Line train preserved the morning commute.

Shortly after midnight, Transit Police along with Boston and Cambridge Fire and EMS, responded to the Longfellow Bridge on the Cambridge side where a motor vehicle that had struck Red Line Train #1811, which was traveling adjacent to motor vehicle traffic over the bridge on a partitioned right of way.

The van crashed through the metal fenced partition and struck the last two cars of the Red Line Train. Approximately 50 passengers from the train were evacuated to Charles/MGH Station. There were no reported injuries. The van operator was placed under arrest.

There was structural damage to the train and the partition. But thanks to MBTA crews that worked overnight on a frigid, wind-swept bridge, Red Line service was restored in time for the start of service at 5 a.m.

MassDOT Secretary & CEO Jeff Mullan praised the work of the authorities and MBTA crew, telling the Boston Globe, ďIím thankful that no one was hurt, Iím thankful that it didnít result in any more damage than is apparent, and Iím thankful for the great work of the MBTA overnight crew to get service moving first thing this morning.Ē

The following story of a calm response to a difficult situation came earlier this week from a Hull commuter, Joe Berkeley:

Yesterday, at approximately 7:05 am the MBTA commuter boat Salem Ferry left the Hull dock to go to Boston. Shortly after departure, the steering rod sheered off and the boat lost all steerage. Because of the calm, careful leadership of the skipper, Meghan, the boat was gently beached until help could arrive. In my humble opinion, Meghan is the most talented skipper in the entire commuter boat fleet. She is often at the helm of Voyager III, the most difficult boat, as it has high freeboard and is a handful to land in a 30 knot breeze. Meghan makes it look easy and almost always lands the boat perfectly on on the first attempt. Meghan is a great example of grace under pressure and she is worthy of a citation for her calm, cool service.

MassDOT and MBTA congratulate commuter boat Captain Meghan McLaughlin on a job well done. Visit the MBTA website to learn more about ferry service.

MassDOT Reform: Developers Real-Time Challenge

The MassDOT Developers Real-Time Challenge is underway. The Challenge calls on developers to create both software applications and physical installations using a real-time feed of MBTA bus locations and arrival predictions with the goal of making this information available anywhere, anytime. The challenge has two categories, with a $500 cash prize for the winner in each and recognition at a March event.

  • Software Applications Challenge: This challenge calls on developers to create applications using the MBTA Real-Time XML Trial Feed accessible through the internet, mobile phones, land-line phones, text messages, software applications and any widely accessible software platform. Examples include: smartphone applications, web applications, websites, computer applications, SMS services, and phone-based IVR systems.
  • Physical Installation Challenge: This challenge calls on developers to create physical installations making information from the MBTA Real-Time XML Trial Feed accessible in public locations. These solutions must be installed along at least one of the five MBTA Routes for which the feed is available on non-MBTA property. Examples include: LED countdown signs in businesses or other locations along the route, LCD countdown signs in businesses or other locations along the routes, bus arrival indicators, physical signs informing users of the existence of real-time data through the phone or on the web, or the inclusion of the MBTA real-time bus information in existing installations along the MBTA Bus routes. Rules and FAQ are here.

Applications and installations can be submitted through March 19, 2010.

Rail Commuter Lauds "Real-Time" Information

Real-time arrival information now available along the MBTA commuter rail network is making a positive difference for commuters.

After taking the Fitchburg Line home earlier this month, customer Selena Tan told the T, "the new GPS notification of train arrival at the platform is excellent! It makes all the difference to know whether to scramble to catch a connecting bus around the corner or just wait patiently because the train is a little late. Thanks!"

The installation of Global Positioning Satellite equipment on the Commuter Rail network allows the MBTA to provide customers waiting on the platform with a six-minute countdown displayed on electronic message boards.

Real-time arrival information became available on the Fitchburg line on February 11 and is now available on all MBTA commuter rail lines with two exceptions. The Newburyport & Rockport line will receive the service next week, and the Providence/Stoughton line on March 9.

Visit MBTA on the web and learn more.

MassDOT Board March Public Meeting

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors will hold its next public business meeting on Wednesday, March 3, in the MBTA Board Room, Boston. During 2010, meetings will be held in Springfield, Lowell, and Brockton, along with Boston. All meetings are open to the public.

The meeting schedule is available on the MassDOT website.

Winter Storms: Plan Ahead, Use Public Transportation

MassDOT encourages drivers to plan ahead and drive safely and commuters to use public transportation if possible during winter storms.

MassDOT encourages driving commuters to leave plenty of time for travel in order to help keep the roads clear for local plowing crews.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: MassDOT encourages residents to use public transportation whenever possible. Visit MBTA on the web. Locate Regional Transit Authorities here.

MassDOT winter driving tips are online.

If you must drive during a storm, prior to departure view MassDOT's live online traffic cameras here.