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IMG_0048MassDOT is continuing to demolish the existing toll plazas along I-90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike) and reconstruct the roadways as part of the transition to All Electronic Tolling, which was activated at 10:06 p.m. on Friday and processed over 1.4 million transactions since between Friday night and 8 a.m. today.

“Our biggest priority is safety and we want to ensure drivers are fully prepared for their upcoming commutes,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “These are major construction projects in 23 work zones, and traffic will be impacted along I-90. Drivers should devote their full attention to driving, monitor traffic conditions using all our available resources, and make an informed decision before travelling.”

“Even if there is not visible construction activity at the existing toll plazas, drivers should obey the 15 mph speed limits through these active construction zones,” said Highway Administrator Tom Tinlin. “The safety of our construction crews, law enforcement personnel, and travelers depends upon drivers exercising good judgment and following the rules of the road, and we want to ensure everyone is able to return home to their families at the end of the day.”

Drivers are reminded that there are now 23 construction zones at the existing toll plazas along I-90 and the posted speed limit is 15 mph through each of these construction zones at all times. This speed limit will remain in place until November 22, as crews are involved in the process of demolishing the center areas of existing toll plazas and reconstructing the roadways in those center areas.

Drivers may experience slow-downs near toll plaza as equipment is mobilized and follow the directions of law enforcement officers and the instructions posted on signs. Travelers should allow extra time to reach destinations, consider traveling by mass transit if possible, and obey directions on posted signs and by law enforcement officers who will be present.

Yesterday, existing toll plazas along I-90 were set up with the temporary lane assignments needed for the first phase of toll plaza demolition, and at some plazas, heavy construction equipment started to remove infrastructure. MassDOT crews and contractors continued to put in place the necessary logistics and traffic control measures to safely guide drivers to the right and left lane of toll plazas as the center toll booths are demolished.

At this time, preparations are underway in all work zones for full active demolition as of 10 p.m. tonight. Today, construction crews at various locations throughout the state will continue the demolition and road reconstruction process. Beginning at approximately 1:30 a.m., Monday, crews will begin demolishing several existing toll plazas in their entirety, including those located in Sturbridge, Millbury/Worcester, Natick, and Framingham.

The following statistics reflect activity on Saturday, October 29:

· Approximately 1,447,494 transactions were processed by the All Electronic Tolling gantries between 10:06 p.m. on Friday, and 8:00 a.m. Sunday.
· This includes 1,232,795 transactions processed between Saturday at 8 a.m., and Sunday at 8 a.m.
· 318 personnel were utilized for the work on toll plaza demolition and road reconstruction on Saturday. This number includes 111 public safety and law enforcement personnel and includes 207 MassDOT and contractor personnel.
· 102 dump trucks, excavators and other construction vehicles were utilized.
· E-ZPass customer service centers statewide processed over 2,000 customers who received E-ZPass transponders on Saturday.
· The new All Electronic Tolling website, (www.EZDriveMA.com), was activated Friday at 10 p.m., to provide information on gantry rates, the hours and locations of Customer Service Centers, and the process for receiving a free transponder. This website functionality for transponder applications and customer account access will be activated on Tuesday, November 1, at 7 a.m. The migration of 1.7 million customer accounts and other data from the former ezpassma.com website to the new website is taking several days.

With traffic expected to be impacted by the ongoing construction activities, drivers are advised to plan ahead and use the appropriate resources to make an informed decision regarding their travel plans. For traffic and road conditions, drivers may use the following options to make decisions:
· Travelers, before getting on the highway, may utilize the MassDOT Real-Time Traffic (“Go-Time”) informational displays which are set up along I-90 for east and westbound travel between Sturbridge and Boston by visiting this link: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/highway/TrafficTravelResources/TrafficInformationMap.aspx
· The public may dial 511 and select a route to hear real-time conditions on I-90 and other roads.
· Visit www.mass511.com, a website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information, and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions.
· Access MassDOT traffic cameras, including 10 new cameras on I-90 added this week: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/highway/TrafficTravelResources/TrafficInformationMap.aspx
· Download Waze, the real-time traffic navigation app that provides motorists with real-time traffic conditions across Massachusetts.
· Download the Ridewise app. Customers may use Ridewise to obtain travel times for various routes including portions of I-90. The app is available on Android and iPhone. Drivers are advised not to use the app if they are operating a motor vehicle.

MassDOT suggests drivers may find these websites helpful:

· Travelers should visit http://www.mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/rail/ for the MBTA’s full commuter rail schedule and maps. They should note that the MBTA’s commuter rail line between Boston and Worcester stops at destinations in many of the communities along I-90.

· Access a map of the MBTA’s subway lines by visiting http://www.mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/subway/

· Visit http://www.mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/bus/ for the MBTA’s full bus schedule list and maps.

· See https://www.amtrak.com/lake-shore-limited-train for information on Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited route, which services Boston, Framingham, Worcester, Springfield and Pittsfield.

· Visit http://www.massridematch.org/ for further options on public, private, and non-profit transportation options.

Travelers should also visit the following websites of Regional Transit Authorities for information on public transportation in communities that are located near I-90:

· Berkshire Regional Transit Authority: http://www.berkshirerta.com

· Pioneer Valley Transit Authority: http://www.pvta.com

· Worcester Regional Transit Authority: http://www.therta.com

· MetroWest Regional Transit Authority: http://www.mwrta.com

All Electronic Tolling works by collecting information on vehicles that pass beneath the overhead tolling gantries. Vehicles with an active transponder have the toll rate automatically deducted from their E-ZPass account. Vehicles without a transponder have a picture taken of their license plate, and receive a “Pay By Plate” invoice in the mail. Drivers are advised that the Pay By Plate toll rate is slightly higher than the transponder rate.

The grace period will allow Pay By Plate customers who obtain an E-ZPass transponder to receive credit for the difference in the Pay By Plate and E-ZPass MA gantry rate on any invoices they’ve paid since October 28. For the first six months, this option is available on any Pay By Plate bill, and after that, on the first bill that a Pay By Plate customer receives.

MassDOT appreciates the patience of the public during the transition from manual toll collection and believes community members will soon see the benefits of electronic tolls, including, an increase in safety, a lessening of traffic congestion, and a reduction of greenhouse gases.

MassDOT will continue to have a robust public outreach process to inform about the progress of toll plaza demolition, new lanes of traffic patterns on I-90, and other AET developments with the use of real-time signboards along roads, via its Twitter feed, (@MassDOT), and through other communication tools.

Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead and allow extra time for travel. Members of the public with concerns or questions can email Aetinfo@dot.state.ma.us. For more information about gantry rates and for other details about the implementation of the EZDriveMA program, please visit: www.massdot.state.ma.us/allelectronictolling

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