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Traffic I-90 Sturbridge, November 2018The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is encouraging members of the public to plan ahead for holiday travel by recognizing that traffic volumes and the number of travelers on public transportation will be higher than normal.  Drivers and public transportation customers should check websites for real-time travel information on major roads, MBTA schedule information and the weather forecast before leaving home.

“This holiday season, we ask drivers to make smart decisions when you get in the vehicle – if you’ve had an alcoholic drink let someone else drive, if you have a phone – put it away and out of sight and check the forecast before setting out,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “Whether you are driving, flying or taking public transportation, build extra time into your trip in order to reduce stress that can be caused by so many people around you traveling at the same time on roads, in airports and major transit stations.”

The MassDOT Highway Division is taking several steps to ensure safe and efficient travel on roadways, shutting down scheduled construction activities effective at 5 a.m., Friday, December 20.  Scheduled construction will resume at 5 a.m., Friday, January 3.  In addition, the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on I-93 between Boston and Quincy will extend its afternoon hours: opening from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., on Monday, December 23. The lane will be closed Tuesday, December 24, Wednesday, December 25, Thursday, December 26, Tuesday, December 31, and Wednesday, January 1, and will resume normal morning and evening operations on Monday, January 6.

“We expect that the holidays will be very heavily traveled this year and we are encouraging members of the public to check weather forecasts, roadway conditions, and traffic conditions as they plan their trips,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “Our crews are ready to respond to any inclement weather but drivers should try to be flexible with their travel times and leave home only when conditions are favorable to traveling.”

MassDOT strongly urges all drivers to minimize distractions by turning off or putting away cellphones, traveling the posted speed limit, driving sober and devoting full attention to what is ahead on the road.  MassDOT encourages travelers to make an extra effort to be courteous on the roads and report to law enforcement any reckless driving.

Free coffee will be served at the 18 MassDOT service plazas from 10 p.m. on Wednesday, December 25, through 5 a.m. on Thursday, December 26, and from 10 p.m. on Wednesday, January 1, through 5 a.m. on Thursday, January 2. The plazas serving free coffee include 11 service plazas along I-90 plus plazas along Route 3 in Plymouth, Route 128 in Beverly, Route 128/I-95 in Newton and Lexington, Route 6 in Barnstable, and the Route 24 northbound and southbound plazas.

Due to increased travel in and out of Logan Airport, the Sumner Tunnel swing lane will not be deployed from Tuesday, December 24 until Monday, December 30 at 5 a.m., at which point it will resume normal operations. In addition, the Sumner Tunnel Swing Lane will not be deployed on Tuesday, December 31, and Wednesday, January 1. Normal deployment of the lane will resume on Thursday, January 2, at 5 a.m.

For anyone who is a Massachusetts resident and who is traveling by air during the holiday period, you may continue to use any documents you have used recently to board airplanes. Massachusetts residents will not need a REAL ID credential for air travel until October 2020. In addition, Massachusetts residents with a valid U.S. passport or passport card never need a REAL ID.

For travelers getting to and from Logan Airport in Boston, please note:

  • MBTA Silver Line provides service between South Station and Logan’s terminals every 10 minutes. Outbound service from Logan Airport to the South Boston Seaport District and South Station is free.
  • MBTA Blue Line provides subway service between points in Boston, North of Boston and Airport Station. Water transportation is also available from Downtown Boston and the Logan dock.
  • Massport provides free shuttle service to and from all terminals; the airport rental car center and the MBTA Blue Line Station.
  • Logan Express serves 5 locations including Peabody, Framingham, Woburn, Braintree and Back Bay. There are also several bus and taxi options available.

For full service information, please visit www.mbta.com/holidays.

Customers are also advised that Registry of Motor Vehicles offices are closed for the designated state holidays of Christmas on Wednesday, December 25, and New Year’s Day on Wednesday, January 1. Please visit at any hour of the day the RMV online at www.mass.gov/rmv to skip the line and perform many transactions. In addition, AAA members now have the opportunity to conduct many RMV services at numerous AAA branch office locations in Massachusetts during AAA normal business hours.

Drivers are reminded to avoid littering on roadways. Violators are subject to a fine of up to $5,500 for the first offense.

For traffic and road conditions, drivers may use the following options to make decisions:

  • Download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.
  • Download Waze, the real-time traffic navigation app that provides motorists with real-time traffic conditions across Massachusetts.
  • Visit www.mass511.com to view travel times, road construction, traffic alerts or crashes along a route. Incidents, road closures, lane closures, real-time live traffic cameras, and weather alerts/forecasts, can all be viewed on the interactive live Traffic Map.
  • Dial 511 from a landline or cell phone to hear information on current conditions on major roadways.
  • Register for a Mass511 account to create and personalize routes and alerts to be notified of events on those routes ahead of time.
  • Check MassDOT Highway Traffic and Travel Resources.
  • Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT as incidents that impact traffic flow are generally mentioned in tweets if they occur on the state’s major highways.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation wishes all members of the public a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

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