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On the Trans Blog
Aeronautics: Beverly Airport Upgrade

Safety, customer service, and cost efficiency are MassDOT priorities. MassDOT's Aeronautics Division says all three were accomplished through an improvement in Beverly that came at no cost to the Commonwealth. Here’s what it’s all about:

Until August 25th, aircraft landing on instruments at Beverly Municipal Airport during low weather ceilings, could only descend to 500 feet above Runway 16, left, which is generally 100 feet above the area’s average low-level cloud cover. This would all too often mean that all aircraft could not land at the airport during an “instrument” approach attempt. This would result in a “missed approach” due to the requirement of high engine power to climb back to the approach altitude for either another try or to divert to another airport where there would be better weather.

Thanks to senior aviation planner Dave Graham for this information and for his work with the Beverly Airport Commission and Federal Aviation Administration in organizing the steps necessary to make this upgrade possible.

View the complete Beverly Airport Upgrade blog post.

Worcester Burns Bridge Public Hearing

MassDOT has scheduled a Design Public Hearing for the proposed Kenneth F. Burns Memorial Bridge Replacement Project in Worcester and Shrewsbury for the following:

Worcester Technical High School
Conference Center
One Skyline Drive
Wednesday, September 21, 7pm

View the complete Worcester Burns Bridge Public Hearing blog post.

The Road to Reform

Secretary Davey: Transportation Security

As part of his remarks to the MassDOT Board of Directors Wednesday during his first meeting as MassDOT Secretary, Secretary Richard A. Davey addressed the issue of ensuring safe transportation:

"With the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attack approaching, efforts are underway to dramatically increase security at all of our transportation modes. We are taking every precaution to safeguard citizens of the Commonwealth by providing a substantial increase in police and security presence at transit stations, airports, and on bus routes. And, as always, we are asking our customers if they see something, to say something by calling State Police, Transit Police, or alerting a DOT, MBTA or Massport employee."

New South Coast Rail Manager Named

MassDOT Secretary Richard Davey this week announced Jean Fox as the new manager of the South Coast Rail project.

A Freetown resident, who serves on the Board of Selectmen, Fox has worked at the Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board (WIB) since 2007.

At the WIB, Fox has worked closely with many community leaders and elected officials, and she has developed strong relationships with civic organizations and other community-based groups in southeastern Massachusetts. As manager of the project to bring commuter rail service to Fall River, New Bedford, and Taunton, Fox’s responsibilities will include securing funding for construction and operation of the lines, shepherding the project through the environmental review and permitting process, and keeping the public fully engaged throughout the design phase.

Fox earned her B.A. from the University of New Mexico and M.B.A. from George Washington University. She lives in Freetown with her husband, Lou, and has three grown children. In addition to the Freetown Board of Selectmen, she serves on the Bristol County Commission on the Status of Women, the South Coast Education Compact, as well as a number of school and education advisory boards in New Bedford.

She begins her new job at MassDOT Monday, September 12.

New Chelsea Street Bridge Takes Shape

Construction of the new vertical lift Chelsea Street Bridge moves into later stages in fall 2011 with the upcoming installation of the new lift structures. To allow for the final work on this historic $125 million MassDOT project, the Chelsea Street Bridge over Chelsea Creek at the Boston/Chelsea line is closed until December 1 with detours in place.

In the view above, the new lift spans are in position to be launched. The Chelsea Street Bridge project involves the replacement of a truss-type structure that spans 450 feet and will provide 175 feet of vertical clearance when raised. The launching of the components of the new lift span is scheduled to occur over several days in late September.

The navigable channel below will be closed to marine traffic during this operation. The new bridge will provide for four lanes of traffic two pedestrian sidewalks. The project is scheduled to be completed in spring 2012.

Irene: Interstate Cooperation

Across New England and the northeast, state governments and public employees, utility companies, and volunteers worked together during the past week to respond to the impacts of Irene. At left is flooding along I-90 Westbound in the Berkshires on Sunday, August 28.

MassDOT highway operations and maintenance worked to clear roadways of downed trees and inspect roads and bridges as flood waters receded. The MBTA provided crews and equipment to assist in tree and debris clearance in New Bedford and Bridgewater.

And in some cases, helping out meant cooperation across state lines to expedite the cleanup effort. One such example of cooperation allowed 50 bucket trucks from the Public Service Company of New Hampshire to move without delay through the Commonwealth on the way to assist in response efforts following the impacts of Irene in Connecticut.

In response to a request, MassDOT Secretary Jeff Mullan on Wednesday, August 31 expedited certain permit requirements and also waived tolls to allow the New Hampshire utility trucks to travel through Massachusetts safely and quickly.

MassDOT notified the Massachusetts State Police of the situation, and by Thursday morning, September 1, the trucks armed with documents showing the approval were on their way. Thanks to everyone inside and outside of transportation for the 24/7 efforts to make safety checks and reopen roads, and restore power.

MassDOT October Public Meeting

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

The meeting schedule is available on the MassDOT website.