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On the Trans Blog
Blackstone Valley Bike Path Moves Forward

Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray announced $15 million in Accelerated Bridge Program funds for design and construction of the first segment of the Blackstone Valley Bike Path. Once completed, the proposed 48-mile trail will connect Worcester to Providence. Improvements to this path will also support the East Coast Greenway, a project to create a 2,900-mile trail system linking cities along the coast from Maine to Florida

Lieutenant Governor Murray joined state and local officials to celebrate the first phase of the project, a 2.5-mile pathway including 11 bridges between the Triad Bridge in Millville located in the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park and along the Rhode Island border.

The Blackstone Valley Bike Path will connect historic and cultural sites, natural resources, recreation facilities, and commercial and residential areas. The project is a joint effort between MassDOT and the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Design is underway with construction expected to begin in spring 2012.

Army Corps: Bourne Bridge Travel Restrictions

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced lane restrictions for the Bourne Bridge over the Cape Cod Canal in Bourne beginning next week and continuing through early December 2010. The restrictions will be in place to allow bridge deck repairs and paving.

Message boards, located at both approaches to the Bourne Bridge, will keep motorists advised of work efforts. Also, fixed signage will be installed at all approach roads to the Bourne Bridge, alerting motorists to the bridge work and associated travel restrictions. Check the Army Corps Cape Cod Canal website for the work status, lane shifts, and other schedule changes.

Weekend Farmers Markets

MassDOT's annual Farmer's Market Program continues through fall 2010.

This weekend's Farmers Markets include:

  • Lee East on Saturday, Sunday & Monday from 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM.
  • Charlton West on Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday 9 AM - 4 PM.
  • Charlton East on Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 9 AM - 4 PM.
  • Framingham on Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday from 10 AM - 4 PM.

Local farmers or customers who want more information are asked to contact program coordinator Dave Fenton at dave.fenton@state.ma.us or 413-572-3171.

The Road to Reform

Charles River Basin Bridges Web Page Debuts

MassDOT this week debuted a comprehensive Charles River Basin Bridges web page, a one-stop place to find the latest information on the historic Accelerated Bridge Program projects to rehabilitate bridges along the Charles River. The projects are funded by more than $400 million from the Patrick-Murray Administration's landmark Accelerated Bridge Program to repair and replace structurally-deficient bridges across the Commonwealth.

Bridge Rehabilitation Projects currently under construction or in design include the Craigie Dam Bridge and Craigie Drawbridge, the Longfellow Bridge, the Boston University Bridge, Western Avenue Bridge, River Street Bridge and the Anderson Memorial Bridge, and Magazine Street Pedestrian Bridge. The Charles River Basin Bridges web page will include links to separate web pages on each project along with maps, traffic, public meetings, and other information that will be updated frequently.

The historic Charles River Basin bridges provide critical connections in and out of Boston for businesses, universities, hospitals, bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers. They are important evacuation routes and serve countless recreational users along the Charles River. During the multi-year project MassDOT will work with surrounding cities, state agencies, and private projects as the timelines for projects in the Charles River Basin are sequenced using a basin-wide travel demand model to develop options that minimize traffic and preserve safe operations for all modes of transportation. Bicycle and pedestrian improvements and enhancements to bridge approaches including a safe way on and off of each bridge that connects to existing sidewalks and bike lanes are being planned for all projects.

Community Involvement

MassDOT developed an extensive community involvement process for all basin projects. During the environmental review and design phase, the agency will schedule periodic public meetings with stakeholders in Boston and Cambridge, including residential, commercial and institutional abutters, recreational users of the river and parkland such as boaters and rowers, to provide updates and gather input. Project updates and advisories are planned for the construction phase.

Stay informed by visiting the Charles River Basin Bridges page at www.mass.gov/massdot/charlesriverbridges


Innovative Bridge Project Shows Progress

During the next few weeks, drivers on Route 2 and 2A in Phillipston will watch a cutting-edge bridge project take shape, funded by the Patrick-Murray Administration's historic Accelerated Bridge Program.

MassDOT’s design/build team has set up temporary supports for the new superstructure being built to replace the structurally-deficient bridge that carries Route 2 over Route 2A. This week, the design/build team poured the concrete for the new superstructure. Once complete, the new superstructure will be moved along a special rail system into place. This procedure is known as a “slide-in”. This project is the Commonwealth’s first slide-in and represents MassDOT’s focus on customer service by using an innovative, cutting-edge process that reduces construction-related traffic disruption. In fact, this project will be completed in just one construction season, saving an estimated two additional years compared to conventional construction methods.

During the expedited process of removing the existing superstructure and "sliding in" the replacement later this fall, the bridge will be closed for a total of just 202 hours. During this time, short detours will be in place for Route 2 and Route 2A. Read more about the Phillipston bridge project here.


MBTA "Real-Time" Information: Subways

Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray announced the availability of real-time train location and arrival information for the MBTA's Orange, Red, and Blue Lines. Lieutenant Governor Murray made the announcement after riding the Orange Line to Ruggles Station.

Following the successful release of real-time information for all 187 MBTA bus routes, today's announcement expands the Administration's award-winning open data initiative to hundreds of thousands of daily subway riders.

Through the widely popular open data initiative, software developers have been allowed to build applications and websites to put this information in the hands of MBTA customers. Given access to a feed of train locations in real time, the public now has the same information that MBTA subway dispatchers use for monitoring the movements of all trains on the busy Red, Blue, and Orange Lines. Subway trains make 1100 daily trips on the three lines, and serve 53 different stations.

Lt. Governor Murray also announced the activation of large electronic displays that show Orange Line train locations and bus countdown information for the many routes serving Ruggles and Back Bay Station.

Less than one year ago, MassDOT launched the first phase of its open data initiative by releasing real-time information for five bus routes. The data released to software developers included real-time GPS locations of buses and arrival countdown information for every bus route. Within just one hour of releasing this data, a developer built an application showing real-time bus positions. Within two months, more than a dozen applications had been created including websites, smart phone applications, SMS text message services, and 617-phone numbers. All of these applications were created at no cost to MassDOT or the MBTA.


MBTA Bus Ridership Sets Record

The average daily ridership on MBTA buses set a record in August.

The average of 390,000 daily riders on MBTA buses in August is the highest monthly average on record. System-wide, average weekday ridership for August 2010 increased by 4.5% over August 2009, the largest jump since October 2008. An average of more than 1.25 million passenger trips were made each weekday in August. It also marked the sixth consecutive month of system-wide ridership increases.

MBTA General Manager Richard Davey says the record bus ridership reflects numerous improvements to the bus system, including the availability of real-time bus arrival information, the extension of Silver Line service from Washington Street to South Station, and the deployment of new, 60-foot long buses on the busy Rt. 28, serving Roxbury and Mattapan. Get your CharlieCard or CharlieTicket here today.


MassDOT Board November Public Meeting

TThe Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors will hold its next public business meeting on Wednesday, November 3, 1:00pm, MBTA Board Room, Suite 3910, State Transportation Building, Boston.

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.