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On the Trans Blog
Medford I-93 Bridges: July 8-11 Construction

Work crews will continue the series of rapid bridge superstructure replacements on I-93 in Medford beginning on Friday, July 8th at 8:00 PM and continuing through Monday, July 11th at 5:00 AM. This weekend's locations involve the bridge on I-93 North over Webster Street and the approach spans on the bridge on I-93 North over the Mystic River.

The $98.1 million project to replace these fourteen bridge superstructures in Medford is funded through the Patrick-Murray Administration’s historic Accelerated Bridge Program, a $3 billion recovery effort to reduce the Commonwealth’s backlog of structurally-deficient bridges.

For more information or to sign up to receive future updates and schedule information, visit the project website.

View the complete Fast14 blog post

I-495 Lowell Bridges Project: Final Stages

The I-495 Lowell Bridge Bundle project replacing six bridges is moving into its final stages, funded by the Patrick-Murray Administration's historic Accelerated Bridge Program to repair or replace structurally deficient bridges throughout the Commonwealth.

As part of the final stage, on or about Monday, July 11, the temporary traffic signals at the intersection of the Exit 37 southbound off-ramp and Woburn Street will be shut down and removed. This section of the intersection will return to pre-bridge reconstruction conditions: a stop sign at the bottom of the southbound off-ramp and Woburn Street free-flowing in both directions. The traffic signals were a temporary feature of the I-495 Lowell Bridge Bundle project, installed to manage the increased traffic volumes on the ramps caused by construction detours. Their removal has been part of the project’s traffic management plan from the beginning of the project.

More information is available by visiting MassDOT's I-495 Lowell Bridge Bundle website.

View the complete I-495 blog post

The Road to Reform

MassDOT Investments: Hines Bridge

Governor Deval Patrick this week joined state and local officials at the 1st Lieutenant Derek S. Hines Memorial Bridge project over the Merrimack River in Amesbury-Newburyport to highlight the Patrick-Murray Administration's historic Massachusetts Works program to promote job growth and long-term economic recovery.

The $34 million project includes construction of a new bridge to carry Main Street over the Merrimack River along with reconstruction of the roadway approaches. The new bridge is a moveable span to allow marine traffic to navigate up and down the river. The project is using innovative “design-build” construction project procurement techniques to reduce the construction timeline. The bridge is scheduled to open to traffic in mid-2012 with final completion in early 2013.

The Hines Bridge was named after First Lieutenant Derek S. Hines, a 25-year-old Army Ranger who was killed in 2005 during a firefight in Afghanistan. Lt. Hines grew up in Newburyport and Amesbury. MassDOT and the contractor have worked closely with the Hines family and state representatives on a proposal to include a pedestal with a memorial plaque that will be installed on the pedestrian overlook constructed as part of the project.

MassDOT is using the design-build method on numerous projects to combine the traditional design-bid-build method into a single item with contractors responsible for design and construction of a project. Working together, design and construction teams are able to complete projects within shorter timelines.

The 2011 MassDOT road and bridge construction effort will invest $931 million in approximately 450 road and bridge repair projects.


Wellesley "Heavy Lift" Customer Service Success

by Shoukry Elnahal, Deputy Chief Engineer for Bridges and Tunnels

Route 9 and Cedar Street were quietly reopened to traffic on Monday morning, almost twelve hours before they were scheduled to be open. A few onlookers watched as some of the first cars travelled under Route 9, and a few drivers sounded their horns and waved appreciatively at the workers. Onlookers stopped by the site throughout the weekend to watch the work rapidly progress. Over a hundred people stood by as the bridge moved—ahead of schedule— down Route 9.

The secret to the incredibly fast bridge replacement was the strategy used by MassDOT and its engineers and builders, which was aimed firmly on a single goal: to provide the best possible customer service to road users and the community by building a long-lasting bridge, safely, efficiently, economically, and with the least possible impact to traffic and the community. To accomplish that, MassDOT pre-constructed the replacement bridge superstructure in a cloverleaf near the old bridge. Doing so kept a vast majority of the work outside of the roadway, nearly eliminating traffic impacts to Route 9.

Once the new bridge superstructure was ready, MassDOT needed to demolish the old bridge and install new portions of the center pier and abutments. On Sunday morning, all preparations were complete. At 5:00 AM, four multi-axle machines called Self-Propelled Modular Transporters (or SPMTs) rumbled to life from their position underneath the new bridge superstructure. They moved in unison, carrying the 530-ton bridge from the cloverleaf onto the Cedar Street ramp. Then, at 8:15, the SPMTs’ many wheels rotated 90 degrees, and the bridge moved smoothly down the ramp onto Route 9 as the crowd watched, amazed. The wheels rotated again, and the bridge moved down Route 9, arriving at the pier and abutments at 9:30. The SPMTs held the bridge above the substructure until the early afternoon, when it was lowered into place.

Crews worked throughout the night to prepare to reopen the bridge. Temporary lane markings are in place and one sidewalk is open for pedestrians. Crews will continue to put the finishing touches on the bridge throughout the month, during off-peak hours. This work includes installing architectural pilasters, final paving and lane marking, completion of sidewalks, and installing signs.


Knowledge Corridor Rail Project Advances

The Patrick-Murray Administration announced the U.S. Department of Transportation has signed the agreements to award nearly $73 million for construction of the “Knowledge Corridor” along the Connecticut River rail line in western Massachusetts. The Federal Railroad Administration grant is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The project will revitalize the existing Connecticut River rail line which runs from Connecticut, through Massachusetts to Vermont and restore Amtrak Vermonter service to the line, providing a more direct route, faster service and restored access to the cities of Northampton and Greenfield. The project will create an estimated 367 jobs during construction. The construction is expected to begin in summer 2011 with completion in late 2013.

“This project highlights the successful partnership the Patrick-Murray Administration has formed with the New England states, the U.S. DOT, and Amtrak,” said MassDOT Secretary & CEO Jeff Mullan. “The result will be improved commuter and freight rail service from border to border across western Massachusetts.”

In addition to the service at stations in Greenfield and Northampton, the Vermonter will continue to stop at Springfield Union station. The improvements to the Knowledge Corridor will occur on the Connecticut River mainline of the Pan Am Southern railroad, a joint venture between Pan Am Railways and Norfolk Southern, and improving freight service for customers along the line and within western Massachusetts.

Governor Patrick and New England Governors are working 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 Vision for the New England High Speed and Intercity Rail Network lays out key projects to strengthen passenger and freight rail service along new and existing rail corridors. The goal is to double passenger rail ridership in the Northeast by 2030.


MassDOT July Public Meeting

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors will hold its next regular public business meeting on Wednesday, July 13, 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.