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Summer vacation season is here, and MassHighway and Turnpike officials advise motorists to drive safely, smartly and avoid peak travel times.

On the Mass Pike and other major highways Friday and Sunday afternoons and early evenings are the busiest.  In 2008, Thursday, July 3 was a busy traffic day/evening.  The last Friday in July and the first Friday in August were among the heaviest traffic volume days.  August Sundays are the busiest of the year.

Major summer events such as Boston’s July 4th Pops and Fireworks Celebration and Sail Boston 2009 from July 8 to 13 can close roads and change traffic patterns.  Also on July 3 the BSO’s concert season at Tanglewood in Lenox begins and brings extra volume to Exit 2 on the Pike.

Motorists should pay close attention to heavy volume at the Pike’s busy I-84 interchange at Exit 9 in Sturbridge, along with Exit 11 at I-495 and Exit 15 at I-95 (Route 128).  To learn more, check radio traffic reports, call the 511 state traffic information line, or visit the Mass Pike website for expanded Road Conditions, real-time Traffic Cameras, Construction Advisories, and to sign up for E-traveler e-mails updating traffic changes and road conditions.

To save time, money and gas, motorists are encouraged to join FAST LANE. Free transponders are available online or by calling 1-877-MASSPIKE (1-877-627-7745).  Free transponders will be offered instantly at Pike Service Plazas in Framingham off I-90 West  on Tuesday, June 30 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm; in Westborough off I-90 West on Wednesday, July 1 and in Charlton East and West on Thursday, July 2, all from 10 am to 2 pm.  

Compliments of McDonalds and Gulf, free coffee will be served to keep motorists alert and safe at the 11 service plazas along the Turnpike on July 4th night into Sunday morning, from 10 pm to 5 am.

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