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On the Trans Blog
Medford I-93 Bridges Public Hearing

MassDOT will hold a Design Public Hearing to discuss the I-93 Bridge Replacement Project known as 93FAST14

Thursday, April 14, 7:00pm, Medford City Hall, 85 George P. Hassett Drive

The project, funded by the Patrick-Murray Administration's Accelerated Bridge Program to repair and replace structurally-deficient bridges, will use an expedited Design–Build delivery method to replace 14 bridge superstructures on I-93 in Medford.

Major superstructure replacement work will take place on weekends in June, July, and August 2011 (except for the 4th of July), avoiding disruption to weekday rush-hour traffic. Weekend work will begin following the rush hour on Fridays and end prior to 5:00 A.M. on Monday mornings.

Other work will take place during weekdays with lane closures mostly during off-peak hours. No work will occur on Memorial Day, Fourth of July weekend or Labor Day weekend. Finish work after September 1 includes paving, lighting, and work on the median, with final completion no later than June 2012.

Longfellow Bridge Public Meeting

MassDOT has scheduled a Public Information meeting on the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project for:
Monday, April 11, 2011, 6:30-8:30 PM
Shriners Hospitals for Children, Auditorium
51 Blossom Street, Boston

The purpose of this meeting is to provide a quarterly project update on the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project, a signature project of the Patrick-Murray Administration's historic Accelerated Bridge Program to repair deficient bridges.

MassDOT has undertaken this major project to restore and rehabilitate the historic Longfellow Bridge, which crosses the Charles River between Cambridge and Boston, as one of the Charles River Basin Projects. Following the presentation, MassDOT staff will lead a discussion to gather public comments and answer questions.

The Road to Reform

Governor Patrick Executive Order: Paratransit Commission

Governor Deval Patrick this week signed an executive order establishing a Commission to examine paratransit services provided by the MBTA's RIDE program, the Regional Transit Authorities and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

Massachusetts is a national leader in providing services to veterans, seniors and people with disabilities to ensure they have the services and supports they need to live independent lives. This Commission will help ensure that residents in those communities who need reliable and affordable transit services can access them. The Commission will also examine paratransit programs to align the needs for these services with current levels of service and existing delivery methods; and assess whether those levels of service and delivery methods properly match federal and state requirements.

The Commission will include representatives from the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services; members with a background in veterans’ services, civil rights, paratransit service delivery and operations; and paratransit services customers.

Commission recommendations are expected in late October.

THE RIDE provides door-to-door paratransit service to 60 cities and towns in and around Boston, in lift equipped vans and sedans for ADA eligible customers who cannot use subways, buses, or trains due to a physical, mental, or cognitive disability.

The Human Service Transportation Office contracts with select RTAs to provide a coordinated, statewide system of transportation services for eligible agency consumers. The Office was established in 2001 as a result of a collaborative initiative to coordinate independent transportation procurements for the Department of Developmental Services, Department of Public Health and MassHealth and since January 2011 includes brokered transportation for the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.

Regional Transit Authorities, in cooperation with local Councils on Aging, provide two levels of paratransit services - one level of service which is mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the other for individuals who have difficulty accessing bus or other transit due to age or minor disabilities.


High Speed Rail Application: Haverhill Rail Bridge

The Patrick-Murray Administration has submitted a formal application for $98.4 million in federal High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail funds for the replacement of a critical rail bridge in Haverhill serving Amtrak "Downeaster" service between Boston and Portland, Maine and the MBTA commuter rail Haverhill Line. If approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration, the grant would fund the final design and replacement of the Merrimack River Bridge, expanding service and enhancing on-time performance for both Amtrak regional and commuter rail service.

"Our application for these funds is being submitted in close cooperation with our regional partners and their own applications for projects that will improve rail service across the Northeast," said Transportation Secretary and CEO Jeffrey Mullan.

The Merrimack River Bridge replacement application was made under the High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail program, and follows earlier successful grant applications by Massachusetts and other New England states for rail project funds.

The Patrick-Murray Administration this week also joined the Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG), in sending a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood expressing collective support a set of rail infrastructure projects being submitted by nine states, the District of Columbia, and Amtrak for the recently available high speed intercity passenger rail grant funds.

The grant application submitted by the April 4 deadline includes "shovel ready" construction projects, such as the Haverhill bridge replacement in Massachusetts, along with double tracking and track expansion and power and signal upgrades that can be implemented quickly.

In January 2010, the Patrick-Murray Administration announced the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $70 million in High Speed Rail federal Recovery Act funds for final design and construction of the Knowledge Corridor along the Connecticut River rail line in western Massachusetts.

Governor Patrick joined New England Governors in July 2009 to announce plans to work together on a coordinated regional vision for high speed rail that will connect major cities and airports, and support economic growth throughout the region. The goal is to double passenger rail ridership in the Northeast by 2030.


Work Zone Awareness Week

MassDOT is focused on safety for workers and the traveling public as a top priority and supports the 2011 National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 4-8. The Work Zone Awareness Week each year brings national attention to motorist and worker safety and mobility issues in work zones. The Federal Highway Administration sponsors the week with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Traffic Safety Services Association, and other transportation partners.

This year's National Work Zone Awareness Week theme is "Safer Driving. Safer Work Zones. For Everyone." In keeping with the focus on Work Zone Safety, MassDOT in 2011 is initiating a Work Zone Speed Monitoring Program.

The Work Zone Speed Monitoring Program will monitor the speeds of vehicles traveling through work zones on limited access highways using electronic field monitoring of speed and volume information in the work zone. MassDOT will use speed trailers over a period of 3-4 weeks for monitoring speed within several work zones along limited access highways, with advance notice of speed enforcement by the Massachusetts State Police provided to motorists via message boards. More information will be made available when the monitoring program begins. Learn more on the web about the 2011 National Work Zone Awareness Week.


MassDOT May Public Meeting

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors will hold its next regular public business meeting on Wednesday, May 4, 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.