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highway-assistance-mapfre-vanThe Bay State is buzzing with excitement as the New England Patriots get ready to take on the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 4th in Minnesota and compete for their sixth NFL championship. As fans from around the country travel to Minnesota, MassDOT and MAPFRE Insurance want to ensure that everyone arrives safely at their destination.

MassDOT is very familiar with the challenges brought on by professional sports teams hosting home games, resulting in heavy traffic to and from the stadium. In preparation, MassDOT regularly deploys Highway Assistance Patrol, sponsored by MAPFRE, fleets to monitor the major highways around Patriots’ home field, Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA. MAPFRE Insurance recognizes the need for roadside support and has been a proud sponsor of the Highway Assistance Program (which includes Mass Turnpike, as well as downtown bridge and tunnel coverage) for 15 years, and we applaud the great work they do for Patriots nation!

For sports fans making the trip out to see the Big Game, rest assured you’ll still be covered by Minnesota DOT’s very own Freeway Incident Response Safety Team “FIRST,” which patrols all major roads surrounding the U.S. Bank Stadium located in the heart of Minneapolis, where the game will take place. FIRST has been preparing for nearly 18 months, with weekly meetings taking place during the two months leading up to February 4th, on which day there will be five additional FIRST drivers on patrol.

John McClellan, Regional Transportation Management Center (RTMC) Freeway Operations Supervisor said, “The last event of this size was the Republican National Convention in 2008.  That was the first major event where we brought in significant additional staff on overtime to assist with patrolling and emergency traffic control for protests.” Additionally he explained that the upcoming game, “has evolved into 10 days worth of programmed events culminating in game day, followed by an expected major crush at the airport on the Monday after. We’ve seen substantial positive evolution in the operational relationships between Freeway Operations, Maintenance and State Patrol over the past 20 years.” McClellan went on to say that information sharing practices between the groups for everyday FIRST patrol operations made it easier to scale up, “If things work well day-to-day, that helps a lot during major events.”

In celebration of the championship game the Patriots held a send-off rally at Gillette Stadium on January 29th, welcoming local fans to support the team free of charge, and to send the team off in great spirits. This event is an example of the need for the Highway Assistance Patrol: regular commuter traffic combined with Patriots rally traffic can cause delays and increase the likelihood of incidents. The patrol monitors 13 major state roads and highways on weekdays from 6:00AM-10:00AM and from 3:00PM-7:00PM. With any type of travel it is important to prepare ahead of time by checking local and destination traffic reports, as well as anticipate congestion during big events and inclement weather.

MAPFRE Insurance and our partners at MassDOT are rooting for a big win, and we remind everyone to drive safely to game viewing parties. Go Pats!

Written By Patrick McDonald, CPCU

CEO, Northeast Region, MAPFRE Insurance

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