The Turnpike Authority and MassHighway are taking steps to coordinate traffic and emergency notification response. The new interagency coordination comes as Governor Deval Patrick on June 26 signed the transportation reform bill creating the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, MassDOT, which will integrate MassHighway and the Turnpike into a new Highway Division. MassDOT becomes effective November 1.
The new interagency notification procedures will coordinate use of MassHighway and Turnpike employees and equipment responding to traffic and emergency situations.
The coordinated effort worked successfully on Friday, June 26, when a two-vehicle accident including a truck hanging over a guard rail on I-93 near Exit 28 in the Charlestown area caused a significant traffic back up. The back up was first observed by Turnpike operations control employees. The accident was on MassHighway roadway but near Turnpike property. The Turnpike notified MassHighway and both agencies responded with shared duties- MassHighway crews supporting clean up efforts on I-93 southbound while Turnpike crews joined Boston Fire Department crews on I-93 northbound. State Police Troopers E and H along with Boston Police were also involved in response to the accident.
The interagency response coordination is an example of the immediate, ongoing effort to integrate the Turnpike and MassHighway into one MassDOT Highway Division.