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On the Trans Blog
Medford I-93 Bridges Preliminary Work

Beginning on Monday, March 14th, work crews will begin construction activities in preparation for the upcoming replacement of 14 deteriorated bridge superstructures on I-93 in Medford. The $98.1 million project is funded through the Patrick-Murray Administration's historic $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program to reduce the Commonwealth’s backlog of structurally-deficient bridges. The project known as "93Fast14" is using an innovative approach that will expedite the work, with major construction in June-August and completion in 2011.

The preliminary work commencing next week will focus on the construction of temporary median crossovers at the northern and southern limits of the project. These crossovers will be used during the majority of weekends this summer to allow the bridge replacement activities to occur.

Read more about the overnight lane restrictions that are scheduled for next week.

The Road to Reform

USDOT Innovation Grant: Medford I-93 Bridge Project

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that MassDOT's I-93 Bridges project in Medford is one of just 15 projects in 13 states receiving federal grants for using innovative construction technologies that more quickly and efficiently improve safety, reduce congestion and create high-quality, long-lasting highways and bridges.

Administered through the Federal Highway Administration’s Highways for LIFE program, the money is intended to encourage use of proven technologies and practices that are not yet widely used. These 15 projects will use innovations such as prefabricated bridge elements, precast concrete pavement slabs, warm-mix asphalt, road safety audits and paving techniques on the road shoulders to reduce traffic accidents.

"These grants give states an opportunity to use technologies they might not normally consider," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. "These innovative techniques can save money, reduce construction times and deliver roads and bridges that are safer and last longer."

The grants were grouped by those that focused on providing faster construction, those that focused on longer life and those that allowed for less traffic disruption.

MassDOT will receive the $1 million federal grant toward the summer 2011 project to replace 14 bridge superstructures on I-93 in Medford as part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's historic 8-year, $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program. The project will replace the bridge structures with work performed only on weekends in June, July and August, except for the 4th of July. This accelerated schedule will avoid weekday rush-hour traffic to reduce the impact on travelers and communities. MassDOT is using innovative engineering and construction techniques to reduce the construction timeline. Community and stakeholder outreach is ongoing to inform affected communities, businesses, and residents about the work.

A project website is available with a map, links and other information. Learn more about the federal LIFE grant program by visiting http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hfl/


Lt. Governor: Work Aggressively to Improve Transportation

by Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray

A strong transportation system is critical to the Commonwealth’s economic vitality and growth. Gov. Deval Patrick and I recognize this dynamic and we are working to bring about significant improvements in transportation, but there is still more work to do. Massachusetts has experienced a tough winter and commuter rail riders have endured an unacceptably high number of delays — such as those that occurred on the Worcester line from Boston. While some delays have been due to the heavy snowfalls, others could have been prevented.

Improvements in service reliability will come from two directions — strengthened maintenance and oversight by the operator, Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company, and continued investment in the commuter rail system by the commonwealth.

Daily maintenance of our commuter rail fleet is vital to on-time service.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has been working directly with MBCR to improve maintenance standards, repair shop capability and equipment, and adhere to required maintenance practices. Additionally, at our insistence, MBCR has implemented improved maintenance procedures and has added specific inspection and repair practice requirements that will improve vehicle performance.

Each of these requirements will help increase vehicle reliability and reduce shop time so that more trains can remain in service. Going forward, we will continue to work with MBCR and hold them accountable to their contractual obligations pertaining to fleet maintenance, training for new procedures, and additional thorough inspections of the entire fleet. As we look ahead to the spring, pre-season air-conditioning system inspections have already started so that any needed repairs will be completed before warm weather arrives.

The Commonwealth is doing its part, too. Recognizing two decades of neglect in the rail system, our investment program for commuter rail service is providing both capacity and reliability improvements our customers will see across the system. We are investing more than $750 million in commuter rail vehicles, stations, facilities, bridges and capacity upgrades.

Prominent among these projects is the addition of a second track on both the Haverhill and Fitchburg lines, doubling capacity for those passengers, and improving the ability to respond to disruptions in service. Additionally, the purchase of the track between the Worcester/Framingham line and Boston from CSX in 2012 will lead to increased service between New England’s two largest cities.

We are also investing heavily in the commuter rail fleet. Two new locomotives went into service last month, and up to 10 additional locomotives will be placed into passenger service this spring. The acquisition of these locomotives will help us bridge the gap between now and early 2013, when 20 brand-new locomotives begin to arrive, allowing the MBTA to retire its oldest and most unreliable engines. Also on the way is a fleet of 75 new double-decked passenger coaches that will provide customers with more seats and better reliability.

In addition to maintenance improvements and investments, we are also committed to improve and expand customer information capabilities. We have implemented free Wi-Fi service on our trains for commuter rail riders, a first-in-the-nation initiative. As part of recent changes in service aimed at improving communication reliability, changes in the MBTA’s T-Alert system have been made. Later this spring, we will begin releasing real-time commuter rail location information to spur the creation of applications for our riders coupled with a push to speed the sending of T-Alerts. Information on service conditions is vital to passenger satisfaction. We will continue to take advantage of advances in technology to get more information out, faster, to all of our customers.

We will continue to work aggressively in seeking improvements for our customers and residents. Strategic rail infrastructure investments and the acquisition of new locomotives and coaches are cornerstones of this effort. Moreover, we are making sure that regions of the state that have been shortchanged in the past are part of rail modernization and improvement. Lastly, the use of technology and increased accountability measures are being implemented to improve customer service as well.


MBTA Honors Orange Line Employee

MBTA General Manager Richard Davey this week honored Orange Line motor person Patricia Corrado. Corrado was operating an Orange Line train near North Station Wednesday and saw commotion ahead- a man had fallen on to the train tracks. She stopped the train quickly and successfully. The man was rescued unharmed. Congratulations to Corrado for quick thinking and professional reaction.


MassDOT April Public Meeting

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors will hold its next regular public business meeting on Wednesday, April 6, 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.