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A Route 24 update, and keeping those teens in line

Posted by Nichole Davis  October 12, 2012 12:53 AM

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Can you believe it's been three months since that horrible few weeks of deadly crashes on Route 24? State Police met with reporters earlier this week, and the results of their increased patrols are behind the cut. If you're heading out leaf-peeping, there's a list of construction spots you may run into... and, of course, all your MBTA slowdowns.

As always, if you've got ideas or questions, toss 'em over to commuting boston at gmail dot com -- that form on the right of your screen should be working again, too -- thanks to the readers who wrote in to let me know something was up with it. :-)

Putting the brakes on - one way or the other

Route 24 has been known for some time to many as one of the more dangerous roads here in Massachusetts.

Earlier this year, if you'll remember, State Police decided to step up patrols on that road and also on 195 in New Bedford and Fall River... this, after a rash of deadly crashes. This week, after three months of that new plan in place, officials held a press conference to announce that they've been busy -- and it's helped to make the drive on those roads a safer one.

Major Anthony Thomas told the crowd at a Route 24 service plaza that 90 people were taken into custody on OUI charges -- 16 of those being repeat drunk drivers and another on prescription drugs. Thomas also noted that almost 1,450 speeding tickets were issued. Keep in mind, again, that's just over three months!

So how did they decide where to patrol? Lieutenant Colonel Edward Amodeo says they were able to use data from earlier incidents to pinpoint trouble spots:

Enforcement programs initiated throughout our state are specifically targeted based on data designed to achieve our goals of safer roads and highways. The enforcement utilized here will act as a template for other highways throughout the commonwealth that are experiencing and increase in fatalities and motor vehicle crashes, specifically with connections to impaired driving, concerning drugs and alcohol.

Officials noted that the extra patrols started up on Friday and Saturday evenings, and would last well into the early morning of the next day. Thomas said the majority of the OUI arrests took place between midnight and 3:00 AM. With the upcoming holiday season, the officers said that patrols already in place would continue and new patrols would be put in place in trouble spots on typically heavy traffic days, such as the days before Thanksgiving and Christmas. Check out more from The Herald News here.

It's encouraging to see that the crackdown has helped to keep the serious crashes to a minimum. I hope that trend continues, but I wonder how long the patrols will be able to continue after the holidays. I'm not sure if we can continue to rely on these as a long-term solution to the problem ... but I can't tell you that I have an answer, either. Do you believe this is the solution for the Route 24 problem?

For the younger set among us

We were all teens once. (You may still be one -- in which case, thank you for being so interested in traffic and transit! You are one of far too few.) Anyway, we were all teens, and we were all mostly terrible drivers, and our parents all freaked out a little bit a lot as we pulled out the driveway and took out peoples' mailboxes...

Anyway, the coming week might help to ease those fears a bit. It's National Teen Driver Safety Week, and the week is sponsored nationally by the National Highway and Transportation Safety Board. They're pushing for stricter seat belt use, tougher restrictions on teen licensing, and more to keep teens as safe as possible while they're out on the roads. You can check out the national site here.

Locally, MassDOT is hosting a kick-off celebration today (Friday) at 2:00 PM at the Watertown RMV. Registrar Rachel Kaprelian will preside and there will be giveaways, including an EZ-Pass transponder and something that I think pretty much anyone would be completely envious of: a pass to allow you to cut the ENTIRE LINE at your next RMV visit. I didn't think such a thing existed, but all I've got on my mind are "Get Out Of Jail Free" cards... There will also be emergency kit demonstrations and other panels to take in.

Even if you can't make it to the event, this coming week may be a good time to sit down with your teen (or any other teen you may know) and remind them of the rules of the road, how important it is that they shouldn't be drinking or imbibing substances and driving (or at all, for that matter, but that's not for this blog), and showing them the resources they have to learn better commuting skills -- and there's plenty of them!

What do you think are the most important rules of the road that teens need to know?

MBTA Matters

The Red Line busing is back(!) According to the T, service will be suspended this time around so crews can get work done on the Columbia Junction signal replacement project. Busing will be in place this weekend from the start of service Saturday until the end of service Sunday between JFK/UMass and Quincy Center. Buses will make all stops. Officials say there will be busing over the next two weekends on the Ashmont branch, so be sure to plan ahead for that.

Something else to plan ahead for: crews will be taking place in a required emergency response drill and training on the Blue Line next Sunday (October 21). To do this, they're shutting down service between Government Center and Maverick from 6 AM to noon. Buses will make stops at all stations and service is set to re-start somewhere around noon that day in both directions.

Of course, Orange Line riders still have the Assembly Square project to wrestle with, and so that means service is still being bused between Oak Grove and Sullivan Square. That's the case each Sunday through Thursday night until December 28. Diversions start up at 9:00 each evening and last until the end of service that night. The shuttle buses will make all stops.

You'll find slowdowns here...

93 northbound between Dascomb Road (Exit 42) and Route 133 (Exit 43), Andover:
a continuous construction project blocks the right shoulder until November 5th. Crews will be working from 5:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. weekdays and some weekend days. Expect minor delays.

Route 3 northbound between Long Pond Road (Exit 5) and Route 44 (Exit 6), Plymouth: long-term bridge maintenance blocks lanes Monday through Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., and Sundays from 6:30 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.

128 northbound at Washington Street (Exit 36), Woburn:
continuous road work blocks the right shoulder 24-7 Monday through Friday. Expect slowdowns.

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.

Route 128 in both directions, between Route 109 (Exit 16) and Great Plain Avenue (Exit 18), Dedham - Needham: ongoing 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 and shifts 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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