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On the Trans Blog
MassDOT Traffic Safety Reminder: "Move Over"

Following the fatal accident involving a Massachusetts state trooper, MassDOT reminds motorists to follow the law and "move over" to protect public servants and others who may be along roadsides.

The "Move Over" law, which took effect in March 2009, is meant to help protect police, firefighters, paramedics, tow truck drivers, and all roadside emergency and maintenance workers. The law requires all drivers approaching a stationary emergency or maintenance vehicle with flashing lights to move to the next adjacent lane if it is safe to do so, and, barring that, to reduce their speed. Violating the Move Over Law could result in a fine of up to $100.

Learn more by visiting the Executive Office of Public Safety on the web".

Check the MassDOT RMV Safe Driving Tips.

Morton and River Street Bridges Meetings

Posted by Matt Hopkinson, Project Manager

If you live in Mattapan or Hyde Park, you’ve probably heard about the upcoming replacement of the bridges that carry Morton Street and River Street across the MBTA tracks.

MassDOT will hold public meetings for both of these projects this month. Public meetings are a valuable opportunity for people to learn about a project; ask and get answers to questions; and provide feedback to MassDOT.

Public meeting times and locations are as follows:

River Street over MBTA RR (Hyde Park)
Boston Police Station
Area E-18 Community Room
1249 Hyde Park Avenue, Boston
June 28, at 6:30pm

Weekend Farmers Markets

MassDOT's annual Farmer's Market Program is underway and continues through fall 2010. Local Farmers are invited to take advantage of free vending space at the state's eighteen highway service plazas to sell their home-grown produce and made-in-Massachusetts products.

This weekend's Farmers Markets include:

Charlton West:
Friday, Saturday & Sunday
June 25, 26 & 27
9 AM - 4 PM

Charlton East:
Friday, Saturday & Sunday
June 25, 26 & 27
9 AM - 4 PM

The Road to Reform

Governor Announces Longfellow Bridge Reconstruction

Governor Deval Patrick this week announced the reconstruction of the historic Longfellow Bridge is moving forward, a signature project funded by Governor Patrick's eight-year, $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program to repair deficient and obsolete bridges across the Commonwealth.

The estimated $260 million investment in rebuilding the Longfellow Bridge begins this year with a $20 million early action contract to include preparatory work, with the full reconstruction expected to begin in fall 2011. The Longfellow project is the largest of several investments totaling more than $300 million in rebuilding the bridges along the Charles River Basin, including the BU Bridge, Craigie Drawbridge, and the Western Avenue, River Street, and Anderson Memorial Bridges.

"There may be no greater symbol of the neglect our roads and bridges suffered under previous administrations than the Longfellow Bridge," said Governor Patrick. "I am proud to say that today we are ready to reverse the disrepair and will be restoring this beautiful structure to its former glory."

The initial work beginning this month on the Longfellow Bridge includes accessibility upgrades to sidewalks, which will provide pedestrian access for the first time since the 1950's, along with steel arch cleaning and priming, masonry cleaning and repairs, pump station upgrades, and temporary utility relocation. This work also provides important information about the bridge that will assist in completing the final rehabilitation project, expected to begin in fall 2011.

MassDOT has convened a task force of stakeholders to develop a consensus around the final design of the roadway that will best accommodates all users, including pedestrian and bicycle access.

Other key projects to be completed in the Charles River Basin as part of the Accelerated Bridge Program now under construction include the Craigie Dam/Drawbridge and BU Bridge. The Western Avenue, River Street, and Anderson Memorial bridges are under design with project completions scheduled for 2014. MassDOT is working closely with surrounding communities to ensure preservation of the historic character of all Basin bridges. Learn more.


West Roxbury Bridge to Reopen

The Park Street Bridge over the MBTA commuter rail in West Roxbury reopens Friday, June 25, after meeting an aggressive schedule and being rehabilitated in just 61 days.

MassDOT closed the bridge to traffic in early April, responding to residents concerns about the condition of the bridge and working with constituents and Representative Michael Rush on reconstruction plans. The $425,000 project funded by Governor Patrick's eight-year, $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program replaced the superstructure, and the project includes a new bituminous concrete deck and repairs to the bridge substructure.

The Park Street Bridge project is another example of streamlining the construction process and finishing more projects than ever on or ahead of schedule. MassDOT reduced the time from construction contract advertisement to construction start from 422 days in 2007 to 124 days in 2009, while the number of projects completed on time this year is up 53%.


Massport, Worcester Airport Deal Completed

The Massachusetts Port Authority and the City of Worcester today signed an agreement on the transfer of Worcester Regional Airport. The transfer is mandated as part of the landmark transportation reform law signed by Governor Deval Patrick in 2009.

Massport will pay Worcester more than $15 million which represents city capital and operating costs at the airport for the last seven years, unamortized debt service that remains on the airport terminal, and the present value of the future retirement and health care benefits for airport retirees and active vested airport employees. Massport will assume all operating and capital costs at the airport, budgeted at nearly $5 million for fiscal year 2011. The complex transaction was approved by the Worcester City Council on June 1 and the Massport Board on June 17. It has received tentative approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Under the transfer, Massport will own the airport and be responsible for all its operating and capital costs. Over the last 10 years, Massport has managed the airport for the City of Worcester and paid a portion of the operating costs of the facility, which has two runways, including a 7,000 foot long runway with a precision instrument landing system and a $16 million terminal building with six gates.

Massport worked to bring Direct Air to Worcester, and the South Carolina-based airline has been flying from the airport to Florida and Myrtle Beach for more than 18 months and has seen a steady increase in passenger loads. Short-term growth at the airport will most likely be corporate general aviation with targeted niche commercial service such as Direct Air serving leisure markets.

The agreement calls for creation of an Airport Advisory Committee with nine representatives from Worcester and central Massachusetts.


Freeman Rail Trail Expansion Moves Forward

Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray announced funding to design a major expansion of the popular Bruce Freeman Rail Trail through Westford, Carlisle, Acton and Concord.

The $931,500 in capital funds will design the next two phases of the Freeman Rail Trail, the first of which will extend the trail south by nearly five miles.

"This strategic investment in designing the expansion of the Freeman Trail will enhance the transportation and recreational infrastructure in the region, providing long term healthy transportation benefits to the residents of Acton, Westford, Carlisle and the many people in the surrounding communities who use and enjoy the Trail," said Governor Deval Patrick.

"As part of our administration's transportation reform we have committed to improve service within all transportation systems in the Commonwealth," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "Today's announced design funding for the expansion of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail is another example of infrastructure improvements that will offer our residents increased recreational and healthy transportation opportunities in the region."

The funds will design the next two phases of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail from the end of the current trail through Westford and Lowell south through Westford, Carlisle, Acton and Concord, including construction of a 10-12 foot paved asphalt multi-use trail, construction of a pedestrian bridge over Route 2A/119, and rehabilitation of six existing rail bridges along the Trail. A segment of the trail crossing Route 2 will be designed with the Concord Rotary Project. In October 2009, the Patrick Administration awarded an additional $500,000 in "Transportation Enhancements" funding to support final design of phase 2A of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.

The estimated construction cost of the first phase of Trail expansion through Acton, Westford, and Carlisle is $7.7 million. Learn more about Governor Patrick's Massachusetts Works Programs to create jobs and promote economic development.


Green Line Extension Meeting Reminder

Posted by: Kate Fichter, Green Line Extension Project Manager

Green Line Extension Friends –

As we noted last week, the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the Green Line Extension project is now available on the project website. You can view a copy of the document here. The FEIR is also available at area libraries, City Clerks’ Offices, and by request to Regan Checchio at 617-357-5772 and rchecchio@reginavilla.com.

We also want to remind you that a public meeting on the FEIR will be held on Wednesday, June 30th at 6 PM at the Somerville High School Auditorium (81 Highland Avenue, Somerville). The meeting will provide an opportunity for members of the public, agency representatives, and other project stakeholders to learn about changes to the project and ask questions.

The comment period for the document will be for 30 days; all comments will be due to the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office by July 23, 2010. Please visit the project website for information on how to comment to the MEPA Office.

More information about the Green Line Extension project, including information about upcoming public meetings, can be found on the web. If you have questions, please contact Kate Fichter, Project Manager for the Green Line Extension, at katherine.fichter@state.ma.us.


MassDOT Board July Public Meeting

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors will hold its next public business meeting on Wednesday, July 14, 1:00pm, in Lowell. Going forward, the MBTA Board will meet first at 1pm, followed by the MassDOT Board. All meetings are open to the public.

The meeting schedule is available on the MassDOT website.