As we move into peak road and bridge construction season, I would like to provide an update on the use of traffic flaggers and paid police details and outline new steps taken to use flaggers where appropriate in a safe and cost efficient manner.
Since MassDOT’s Road Flagger and Police Detail Regulations went into effect in October 2008, we have realized significant savings in traffic mitigation while continuing to maintain the safest roads and work zones in the nation.
The flagger regulation gives MassDOT the flexibility to control the work zone by determining the appropriate number of police details or flaggers working on a project based on roadway speeds. The regulation enables us to pay flaggers only for the hours they work rather than a guaranteed minimum, and also reduces costs by controlling the number of details and/or flaggers and avoiding the use of non-MassDOT supervisors on-site.
The result has been savings of nearly $12 million in less than two years, additional dollars that can be invested directly in road and bridge construction.
I would also like to respond to statements that may have created some confusion about the actual savings being realized by the use of flaggers. Because the flagger rate is a bid item in the construction bid and contract we note some contractors bid higher than the prevailing wage for flaggers. This happens in only a small number of cases – the majority of contractors bid far lower rates – and even that discrepancy is made up by the absence of four-hour minimum payments for flaggers.
While we are very pleased with the safe work zones and cost savings resulting from the Flagger Regulation, we are not stopping there. We believe we can achieve additional cost savings by introducing even more competition for traffic management services during our bidding process. Effective June 1, 2010, we added language in all new contracts that stated that MassDOT would reserve the right to use our own employees as flaggers if the contractors bid too high on that item. We have begun training more than 1,300 MassDOT employees, who will become certified as flaggers.
The MassDOT flagger program from the beginning has not been designed to replace police details on all public works projects. We will continue to use State Police and local police when appropriate and necessary on high speed roadways as outlined in the regulation. We view the police as our partners in highway safety and will continue to work closely with them on traffic management and a wide variety of highway safety issues across the Commonwealth.
Over the coming years, we expect to continue to save millions of dollars implementing the flagger regulation while maintaining safe roads and safe construction projects.
Casey Arborway Project Public Meeting Set posted on Jun 24
MassDOT has scheduled a fourth Casey Arborway Project Construction Update Meeting as follows: Wednesday, June 29, 6:30-8:30 PM, Boston English High School Auditorium 144 McBride Street, Jamaica Plain The purpose of this meeting will be to provide the community with an update on the progress …Continue Reading Casey Arborway Project Public Meeting Set
Milestone Nears: Longfellow Bridge “Salt and Pepper” Towers Restoration posted on Jun 23
MassDOT announced that the restoration of the iconic “salt and pepper” towers of the historic Longfellow Bridge will be complete in late July. The downstream towers have been replaced on the bridge, and barges are transporting the last stones for installation on them. The capstones …Continue Reading Milestone Nears: Longfellow Bridge “Salt and Pepper” Towers Restoration
New Tunnels Gantry Infrastructure to be Installed posted on Jun 22
MassDOT has announced that new infrastructure for two vertical gantry supports on the East Boston sides of the Sumner and Callahan Tunnels will begin to be installed late tonight, June 22. Installation work will continue during off-peak hours during the next several days with gantries …Continue Reading New Tunnels Gantry Infrastructure to be Installed