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On the Trans Blog
Boston Dorchester Avenue Progress

MassDOT contractors are making progress at Peabody Square and other locations as part of the federal stimulus $15.6 million Dorchester Avenue project in Boston.

The Dorchester Avenue project began in spring 2010 and will be completed in fall 2012. The project is improving safety and mobility at four major intersections along the Dorchester Avenue corridor: Andrews Square, Glover's Corner, Fields Corner and Peabody Square. An additional 11 intersections will receive traffic signal equipment upgrades and interconnection and hardwire control to the City of Boston Traffic Management Center. All intersections will see accessibility and bicycle accommodation improvements.

An update has been sent via email to the community and added to the Dorchester Avenue Project website every two weeks highlighting a general description of work locations, activities and hours.

New Bedford Station Design Contest

MassDOT and the City of New Bedford announced an informal design competition for a new station near Route 18 to be known as Whale’s Tooth. The multi-modal station will be built as part of the South Coast Rail project and may host a new local and intercity bus terminal. The announcement was made in New Bedford City Hall by Mayor Scott W. Lang and Kristina Egan, Director of South Coast Rail, MassDOT.

The contest poster and background information about the station site are posted on the South Coast Rail project website. Submissions are due on December 20, 2010, and must include one or two drawings or renderings and a description and rationale for the design.

The Road to Reform

MassDOT Reform: Online Bidding

MassDOT is now testing an online application which will allow contractors to submit their sealed, secure bids electronically. The Highway Division is using Bid Express software developed through the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials by InfoTech and has selected a number of projects where bidders are being required to submit both a hard copy of their bids along with an electronic version.

During this testing phase the hardcopy of the bid will govern determination of a bidder's price if there are any discrepancies. MassDOT has conducted training sessions for almost 200 contractors on how the application works and what contractors need to do in order to set up Digital IDs and create a legal Digital signature for submitting their bids.

The testing phase will continue over the next few months to ensure that the system operates without any flaws. Acting on feedback from the contractors involved in this testing phase will help to make sure that the system works as they expect and guarantee a smooth implementation. Once this is confirmed MassDOT intends to require all bids to be submitted electronically.

Electronic submittal of bids will allow contractors to submit their bids and watch the bid openings from their offices, eliminating the need to drive to downtown Boston. This will reduce cost for contractors by reducing paperwork and eliminating multiple trips, particularly important for contractors in the western part of the state. Results can be verified more quickly.

MassDOT will save by eliminating the need to handle paper documents and in reduced data entry costs since the bids can be downloaded directly from the bidding application into MassDOT databases for processing.


Healthy Transportation Rewards: NuRide

As part of MassDOT's commitment to Healthy Transportation, MassDOT and MassRIDES are partnering with the NuRide program.

NuRide is the nation’s largest rewards program for individuals who take greener trips -- walking, biking, carpooling, vanpooling, public transportation, or even telecommuting. NuRide is a free service and is supported by sponsors who provide special offers to NuRide members for taking greener trips and reducing global warming, traffic congestion and energy consumption. NuRide members not only receive the benefits of special offers but also save money on transportation costs.

NuRide is available throughout Massachusetts and it is always free to join and free to use. Enroll today.

Once signed up, members can confirm trips and earn points that can be redeemed for restaurant coupons, retailer discounts, and tickets to shows and attractions.

NuRide supports MassDOT's GreenDOT initiative focusing on environmental responsibility and sustainability. GreenDOT calls for MassDOT to incorporate sustainability into all of its activities, from strategic planning to project design and construction to system operation.

To learn more and sign up, visit NuRide and MassRIDES on the web.


Craigie Drawbridge: Lanes Reopen

Effective Sunday, December 5, MassDOT reopened the two inbound travel lanes on Route 28 southbound at the intersection of Land Boulevard. The inbound lanes were closed on November 6 during Phase I of the Craigie Drawbridge Rehabilitation Project and will reopen one month later on Sunday, in keeping with the original schedule. The southbound lane closure will be reinstated in early 2011 in order to complete the final phase of this project.

"I want to commend MassDOT staff, Boston, Cambridge and Somerville officials and state and local police for working to avoid any major traffic problems associated with the work on the Craigie Drawbridge," said MassDOT Highway Administrator Luisa Paiewonsky. "As we prepare for the next phase of construction we will continue to work cooperatively to make sure this important project inconveniences the driving public as little as possible."

The Craigie Drawbridge carries McGrath O’Brien Highway (Route 28) between Land Blvd. in Cambridge and Leverett Circle in Boston. Visit the Craigie Drawbridge Rehabilitation project on the web for more information. Bike and pedestrian access in each direction will be maintained during construction. As a result of the construction activities, the Charles River Channel will be closed to all marine traffic reopening no later than April 27, 2010.


MassDOT Board January Public Meeting

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors will hold its next regular public business meeting on Wednesday, January 5, 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.