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On the Trans Blog
Healthy Transportation Compact Advances

by Catherine Cagle, MassDOT Sustainable Transportation Manager

The Healthy Transportation Compact met on Thursday, July 28th that appropriately coincided with the launch of Hubway bike share that expands healthy transportation travel choices in Boston. The Compact serves as a guide to livability in the MassDOT Sustainability and Livability policy framework. Key Healthy Transportation Compact actions included advancing the interagency pilot Health Impact Assessment on the 'Grounding McGrath' transportation study and building on the momentum of the Compact’s first year of outcomes that are dramatically advancing and innovating healthy transportation in the Commonwealth.

For more information please check out our Healthy Transportation Compact website that includes all the materials from this meeting and the list of short term wins.

View the complete blog post.

The Road to Reform

DePaola Named MassDOT Highway Administrator

MassDOT Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Mullan and incoming MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey yesterday announced the appointment of Frank DePaola as MassDOT Highway Administrator. DePaola is a Professional Engineer with more than 30 years of experience in the design and construction industry. He has served as Acting Highway Administrator since March and begins his duties immediately.

"Frank DePaola is an engineer's engineer who has earned the respect of his colleagues during his time running the Highway Division," said Secretary Jeff Mullan. "He will be a stabilizing presence in the DOT at a critical time of transition." “Frank brings to this critical role a perfect combination of engineering know how and demonstrated leadership ability,” said incoming Secretary Rich Davey. “I am fortunate to have Frank as a key member of my senior team as we move forward on transportation reform in the months ahead.”

DePaola previously served as Assistant General Manager for Design and Construction at the MBTA. Prior to joining the MBTA in 2009, he worked with Harvard University as part of the Allston Development Group, and was previously Director of Construction for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority.

DePaola is a licensed, registered Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and holds a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Northeastern University and Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

Medford I-93 Bridges: Final Weekend for Bridge Replacements

Work crews will complete the last of the series of rapid bridge superstructure replacements on I-93 in Medford beginning tonight, Friday, August 12th at 7:45 PM and continuing through Monday, August 15th at 5:00 AM. This weekend’s location involves the bridge on I-93 South over Route 16.

Throughout the course of the weekend, traffic on I-93 will be limited to two lanes in each direction over a 6-mile segment between Exit 28 (Sullivan Square) in Somerville and Exit 36 (Montvale Avenue) in Stoneham. Traffic on I-93 South will be directed through a median crossover near Spot Pond at the Stoneham/Medford line and then travel in counter-flow operation on the northbound barrel of the highway before traveling through a second median crossover near the Medford/Somerville line. I-93 directional traffic will be separated by a moveable "zipper lane" barrier. Access to and from many of the ramps on I-93 South in this area will be restricted.

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 93Fast 14 Project website.


Tunnel Safety Update

MassDOT Acting Highway Administrator Frank DePaola this week provided to the MassDOT Board of Directors an update on the Metropolitan Highway System and the Central Artery tunnel portion of the MHS, in particular issues related to frozen soil. To construct the I-90 Connector Tunnel, a method known as Ground Freezing was used to stabilize the surrounding ground as a portion of the tunnel was excavated. In 2002 the freeze plant was shut down and the slow and expected process of thawing the frozen soil mass began. While some ground settlement was expected, the thawing of the frozen soil during the past nine years has resulted in greater settlement than originally predicted. DePaola outlined for the Board the steps taken to date and the anticipated repairs in the future to address the void caused by settlement. In the meantime, MassDOT Highway and the MBTA will continue to monitor the situation and take any and all necessary steps to maintain all MassDOT facilities in a continued State of Good Repair.

Here is a direct link to Frank DePaola's Report to the Board.

For more information, please visit the MassDOT Tunnel Safety website.


Public Hearings: Proposed Hazardous Material Route

Public Hearings will be held by MassDOT, as the state routing agency, to discuss the I-93/I-95 Non-Radioactive Hazardous Material through routing designation proposed by the City of Boston. The four hearings are scheduled as follows:

Boston- Tuesday, August 23, 6:30-8:30pm, State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, 2nd Floor

Quincy- Wednesday, August 24, 6:30-8:30pm, Thomas Crane Public Library, 40 Washington Street

Waltham- Tuesday, August 30, 6:30-8:30pm, Clark Government Center, Main Auditorium, 119 School Street

Stoneham- Thursday, September 1, 6:30-8:30pm, Stoneham Town Hall Auditorium, 35 Central Street

The purpose of these hearings is to provide the public with the opportunity to provide testimony and comments regarding the City of Boston’s routing analysis and proposed Non-Radioactive Hazardous Material through routing designation along I-93/I-95. All views and comments made at the hearing will be reviewed and considered to the maximum extent possible. MassDOT and City of Boston representatives will be present to discuss the proposed route and answer questions.

Additional information, including the City of Boston routing evaluation, is available on the MassDOT website.