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winter-traffic-natick-december-5-2016The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, MBTA, and Massachusetts State Police remind travelers to plan ahead for the New Year’s holiday, take public transportation if possible, and drive sober and limit distractions if behind the wheel of a vehicle.

“We encourage everyone who is traveling or celebrating this New Year’s Eve to make smart decisions in order to safely enjoy the holiday with family and friends,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “The MBTA will provide free service for all forms of transportation after 8 p.m., and drivers should minimize distractions, remain sober or use a designated driver, and exercise safe driving habits at all times.”

“Travelers should monitor weather and road conditions, try out our online resources such as or our GoTime travel app, and make the appropriate decisions on route and timing of travel,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver.  “Our first priority is safety, and we advise the public to make travel plans or accommodations before they head out and celebrate in order to ensure this is a safe and happy New Year.”

“Troopers will be on the lookout for any signs of impairment by motorists, and for any other dangerous driving behaviors,” said Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. “Please make smart decisions about getting behind the wheel so you, those close to you, and other motorists can truly have a happy start to the New Year.”

MassDOT is taking steps to ensure safe and reliable travel for all citizens who utilize transportation systems across the Commonwealth and will be shutting down scheduled roadway construction for the New Year’s holiday travel period effective at 12 p.m., Friday, December 29, 2017. Normal scheduled construction operations will resume at the start of business on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

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 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 MBTA has also announced the following schedule information:

  • All MBTA services will be free after 8 p.m., Sunday, December 31, 2017, until the end of service.
  • All subway lines will operate a Sunday schedule on Sunday, December 31, 2017, with additional trains operating at rush-hour levels of service from 3 p.m., until approximately 2 a.m. On Monday, January 1, 2018, all subway lines will operate on a Sunday schedule.
  • On Sunday, December 31, 2017, the Commuter Rail will operate a modified Sunday schedule with additional outbound service on some lines beginning at 1 a.m. Trains will make all stops en route to their destinations and customers must arrive prior to the departure times. Bicycles are also prohibited on all inbound Commuter Rail trains between 10 a.m., and 6 p.m., and all outbound trains from 4 p.m., through the end of service on New Year’s Eve.
  • Buses will operate on a regular Sunday schedule on Sunday, December 31, 2017, and Monday, January 1, 2018.
  • On Sunday, December 31, 2017, Charlestown ferry service will operate on a weekend schedule, and there will be no Hingham or Hull ferry service.
  • On Monday, January 1, 2018, there will be no Hingham, Hull, or Charlestown ferry service.
  • The RIDE will operate on a Sunday schedule on Sunday, December 31, 2017, and will offer late-night service until 2 a.m. On Monday, January 1, 2018, The RIDE will operate on a Sunday schedule.

Free coffee will be served at the 18 MassDOT service plazas from 10 p.m., Sunday, December 31, 2017, through 5 a.m., Monday, January 1, 2018. 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.

The High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on I-93 between Boston and Quincy will have normal morning hours this week and will extend its afternoon hours to be open from 2 p.m., to 8 p.m., on Thursday, December 28, 2017, and from 1 p.m., to 8 p.m., on Friday, December 29, 2018. The HOV lane will be closed on Monday, January 1, 2018, and will resume normal operations on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports that all travel lanes on the Cape Cod Canal’s Sagamore and Bourne bridges will be open Thursday, December 28, 2017, through Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

For anyone traveling by air during the New Year’s holiday, 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 more information please visit REAL ID online.

Customers are also advised that the Registry of Motor Vehicles offices are closed for the designated state holiday of New Year’s Day on Monday, January 1, 2018. Please visit at any hour of the day, the RMV website: . In addition, AAA members now have the opportunity to conduct many RMV services at 33 AAA branch office locations in Massachusetts during AAA normal business hours.

At Boston Logan Airport, travelers should monitor for updated airline and airport information and Transportation Security Administration carry-on luggage regulations, The Massport website allows travelers to check flight status, parking conditions and public transportation options from smartphones or tablets. Massport also encourages travelers to check with their airlines before heading to the airport for the most updated flight status and travel information.

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

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


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