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MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing that effective on Monday, November 23, the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on I-93 southbound in Medford and Somerville will re-open on weekdays between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10 a.m.  The re-opening is one of several commitments agreed to by MassDOT and the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF).

MassDOT and CLF have agreed to resolve a dispute regarding the temporary opening of the HOV lane on I-93 southbound in Medford and Somerville to general traffic as one of several measures designed to alleviate traffic congestion due to the Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project.  In October 2019, CLF notified MassDOT of its intent to sue MassDOT under the Clean Air Act’s citizen suit provision in regard to MassDOT’s authority to implement that temporary mitigation measure during the Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project.

“MassDOT and CLF share the objective of prioritizing the movement of people, rather than vehicles, on the Commonwealth’s roadway network,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack.  “We have outlined some specific next steps that will prioritize buses on MassDOT-owned roads, including a bus lane pilot for MBTA bus route 111 on the Tobin Bridge southbound.”

MassDOT crews will be working overnight during the weekend of Friday, November 20, through Monday, November 23 to install appropriate signage and safety measures for drivers using I-93 southbound. Additionally, variable message signs will be utilized to notify the traveling public of the traffic pattern change.

This traffic pattern change is one of many steps that MassDOT is taking this fall to advance the Commonwealth’s commitment to addressing congestion as we begin to see an increase in traffic since March when the pandemic began.  More information on congestion relief proposals will be discussed on Monday, November 23, at the Joint Meeting of the MassDOT Board of Directors and the Fiscal and Management Control Board.  Members of the public are invited to watch this virtual public meeting:  https://livestream.com/mbta/events.  More information on a bus lane pilot on the Tobin Bridge will be discussed at the meeting.

In addition, the public is reminded that due to the State of Emergency and health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, all persons not living in the same household and carpooling, must wear a face covering when riding in a vehicle together.  For more information on the Commonwealth’s protocols, please visit: www.mass.gov/coronavirus.

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