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More Pike problems, and maybe some temporary Tobin relief?

Posted by Nichole Davis  August 17, 2012 12:57 AM

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Hello again! Ready for the weekend -- you bet I am. I hope you have a great time, doing whatever it is you have planned.

Today's post is chock-full of information. We, of course, have our out-of-Boston construction info (Monday will bring the in-town closures, such as for the river roads and O'Neill Tunnel) and the MBTA diversions for the weekend ahead. Also, I've got some news on a new Pike closure, where you can tune in to find out if you've won the RMV low number lottery, and I'm tackling ... not a question, but more of a thought, from the mailbag.

Speaking of, let's check it out...

You have answered my question about how long the lane reduction will be in effect on the Tobin, thanks. I am very concerned about the traffic after Labor Day when school reopens; I am already back to RTE 16 some mornings. 99 and Everett Ave are also under construction. The state should be paying us to deal with the frustrating commute; maybe a reduced toll or one day free per week.
Susie, Saugus

First and foremost - glad I was able to answer your question! For those just tuning in, I've got all the details of that work they've been doing on the Tobin Bridge here. It's planned to be out there until November, before taking a break for the winter (unless we have an absurdly warm winter like last year, in which case they might keep it out there longer).

Secondly, and most interestingly... I've received several emails over the past couple weeks saying the same thing Susie has -- that Route 1 commuters deserve a free day through the tolls on the Tobin.

While I ask officials over the next few days if this is even a possibility, I'm curious...
Do you agree that commuters deserve a day off, or half price tolls, during construction?
If that's the case on the Tobin, should it stretch to all other construction on toll roads, such as work on the Pike?
If that's not a possibility, what do you think the state should do to make up for the heavy delays that, at the heights, are stretching back on to the river roads (Storrow Drive and Memorial Drive) and almost all the way back to 95 in Peabody some days on Route 1 South?

Thoughts to mull, for sure. Meantime, as I mentioned, I'll send out some emails and see if DOT officials or the state has any plans to make any of those options a possibility. Until then, hang tight, check your brake pads, and bring snacks.

Shuttin' it down

Heads up, Pike Westbound commuters...

The DOT has announced they're closing the Ted Williams Tunnel completely again this coming week to continue the cleaning work they started earlier in the month... this time, the westbound side will be affected. It'll be an overnight job starting Tuesday around 11:00 pm. The road will reopen around 5:00 am on Wednesday.

Why are they shutting down the road to do this cleaning work? The DOT says they're doing a lot of power scrubbing and heavy cleaning that just can't take place while there's cars all over the place, even with lanes closed. Crews have been doing this cleaning in the O'Neill Tunnel and others on 93. MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola said in a release earlier this month that "the I-93 tunnels are the cleanest they have been since first opening".

Watch for detours set up and expect significant delays.

Low Number Lotteries

Itching for one of those license plates with low numbers? You'll have your chance to hear if you got your chance in just a few weeks. The RMV Low Number License Plate Lottery is taking place this year on September 10th from 8:00 to 10:00 pm on "Nightside with Dan Rea". You can find the show on your dial at WBZ Newsradio 1030 or online at cbsboston.com.

MBTA Matters

It's that time again on the Blue Line ... busing time, that is. This weekend service will be suspended between Wonderland and the Airport, and will be replaced by buses. The disruption will start at the beginning of service on Saturday and end at the end of service on Sunday. The MBTA says they have to put the buses to work as they do some platform repairs and overall renovation work at Orient Heights.

FYI, Red Line riders -- we've been seeing closures of the Ashmont span over the past few months ... now, it's time for the Quincy-Braintree stretch. Several weekends over the next month and a half or so are slated for track repair on that span. This weekend, though, you are free and clear. I'll update you when things are set to change in that regard.

Believe it or not ... the Quincy Center garage is still closed due to structural concerns. The T hasn't told us yet when the garage is scheduled to open. Consider the Quincy Adams, Braintree and North Quincy stations as alternates. It'll be a bit easier to park at Quincy Adams than it has been, though -- over 100 new parking spots have been opened up for use there. Note that a street-level entrance for the garage via the Burgin Parkway has also been made available, so there's no need to get onto 93 or Route 3 to access the garage.

Riders on the Orange Line, remember that busing continues between Oak Grove and Sullivan Square each Sunday through Thursday night until December 28. Diversions start up at 9:00 each evening and will last until the end of service that night. The shuttle buses will make all stops. Officials for the T say the diversion is necessary as track, signal, and power work are all being done in that stretch to continue the Assembly Square Project.

You'll find slowdowns here...

Route 3 southbound from the Braintree Split past the Burgin Parkway (Exit 19), Quincy: watch for lane shifts and ongoing paving work through most weekday middays and overnights. Expect heavy delays.

495 northbound between Boston Road, Westford (Exit 32 to Woburn Street, Lowell (Exit 37): ongoing lane stripping and paving operations in the left lane. Watch for a lane shift as well closer to Woburn Street.

Route 128 in both directions, between Route 109 (Exit 16) and Route 135 (Exit 17), Dedham: road widening project blocks the left lane through most weekday middays and overnights. Expect significant delays and possible blockages of the active breakdown lane.

Route 128 in both directions, between Route 38, Woburn (Exit 35) and Route 3, Burlington (Exits 32 A/B): left lane is closed for ongoing median work. Lane restrictions are in place. Expect heavy delays.

Route 1 Northbound between Main Street and Noah's Motors, Saugus: right lanes are closed weekday nights between 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. for water main installation.

North Harvard Street over the Larz Anderson Bridge: Continual lane closures are in effect in both directions for bridge reconstruction work. No left turn onto Memorial Drive from JFK Street.

Tobin Bridge in both directions: Watch for continual lane closures as DOT crews continue to paint the bridge. These will be in effect until November.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Nichole Davis is a Boston-based traffic reporter and news anchor. She’s been seen and heard on television and radio airwaves across New England since 2003, providing commuters with all the More »

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