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A weekday win for Worcester commuters, and a cheaper ride for Mainers

Posted by Nichole Davis  October 19, 2012 01:38 PM

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Greetings to you -- another weekend is on the way. With that, I've got an extended list of construction and MBTA diversions you'll get to look forward to. Keep in mind, if you're a Blue Line rider, you'll see an unusual shutdown on Sunday morning ... that's because MBTA crews are going to be taking part in an emergency drill. There's more on that under the cut.

Also, some good news for those who live in Worcester and prefer to take the commuter rail into the city... and for you Maine readers, some REALLY good news if you drive the Turnpike on almost a daily basis.

A thought I had the other day -- don't forget to grab an ice scraper and throw it into your car. You know, just to have it. We're getting to that time of year ... and we've already had the first frost ... it's a matter of time before that becomes commonplace! (Okay, I know, I've jinxed myself here. But still..!)

You can get there from here, more often

You may remember, back in August, when I mentioned that the MBCR was getting close to striking a deal with CSX to provide extra commuter rail service to the Worcester area.

Well, good news! That deal has gone through and the extra service on weekdays is now a reality. The six extra trains will start running in just about a week and a half -- on Monday, October 29th, according to Rhiannon D'Angelo of the MBCR. There will be no changes to weekend service, FYI.

The new outbound trips from South Station include:

- Train 511 will leave South Station at 10:30 AM, arrive in Framingham at 11:27, and end up in Worcester at 12:05 PM.
- Train 515 will leave South Station at 1:15 PM, arrive in Framingham by 2:08, and arrive in Worcester at 2:48.
- Train 539 will leave South Station at 11:25 PM, stop in Framingham at 12:21 AM, and arrive in Worcester at 1:01.

The new inbound trips to South Station include:

- Train 520 will leave Worcester at 12:20 PM and arrive at South Station at 1:55. This train will not stop at Auburndale or Newton stations.
- Train 522 will leave Worcester at 2:10 PM and arrive at South Station at 3:45.
- Train 538 will leave Worcester at 9:30 PM and arrive at South Station at 11 PM. This train also will not stop at Auburndale or Newton stations.

You can download a schedule here, or grab a printed schedule at Back Bay or South Station starting Monday the 29th.

Not so tough on the Turnpike

Good news if you frequent the Maine Turnpike and happen to own an E-Z Pass... the Associated Press reports that the Turnpike Authority has said "yes" to a new range of discounts on tolls for drivers with those transponders.

The slash in prices will kick in on November 1. If you're a regular commuter making more than 40 one-way trips per month, you'll see a 50 percent discount in your tolls. If you make between 30 and 39 trips for up to 8 months, you'll still make out okay in the deal -- 25 percent will be cut off your toll price.

Officials with the Turnpike Authority say they are cutting the costs because of the tough economic strains on commuters that are forced to use the Turnpike daily. Of course, there's another side to the situation, and that means cash-paying customers will ... well ... have to pay more cash. Tolls will jump to $3.00 at the York plaza, $2.25 at the New Gloucester plaza, and up to $1.70 in West Gardiner.

MBTA Matters

Heads up to you, Blue Line riders: crews will be taking place in a required emergency response drill and training on the Blue Line this Sunday (October 21). They're shutting down all service between Government Center and Maverick from 6 AM to noon. Buses will make stops at all stations. According to the T, service is set to re-start somewhere around noon that day.

Another weekend of Red Line busing is ahead of us as well: this time on the Ashmont span. (Lucky for you, Quincy and Braintree commuters!) Busing will be in place this weekend from the start of service Saturday until the end of service Sunday between JFK/UMass and Ashmont. Buses will make all stops. Service is being suspended so crews can get work done on the Columbia Junction signal replacement project.

Also, if you normally ride the Red Line between Harvard and Alewife, you'll have to deal with another round of busing on weekends coming up in November and December. The T has announced that they're going to be doing more work on the "Floating Slab" project, and that will necessitate four weekends of service shutdowns. More on that as we get closer to it.

Not only will Orange Line riders still have to deal with the weekday busing for the Assembly Square project, but now the T is announcing there will be busing for the first weekend in November. I'll update you on that a little bit closer to then. However, as I'd mentioned, service is still being bused between Oak Grove and Sullivan Square 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...

Route 28 southbound at Mystic Avenue, Somerville: the median and right lane will be blocked Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for road work until October 26. Expect heavier than usual traffic through the midday.

Route 1 in both directions at Essex Street, Saugus: utility work will block the right lane and breakdown lane Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. until October 26. Stay left and expect heavy volume.

95 northbound before Topsfield Road, Boxford: bridge maintenance blocks two right lanes Thursday and Friday from 8:00 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.

95 northbound at Route 133 (Exit 54), Georgetown: two right lanes will be closed for bridge maintenance Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:00 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.

93 southbound at Roosevelt Circle (Exit 33), Medford: bridge maintenance blocks the right lane from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Monday. Expect minor delays.

Route 2A westbound at School Street, Lexington: expect a left lane closure for paving work Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. until October 26th.

Route 9 eastbound at the Hammond Pond Parkway, Newton: expect heavy delays due to ongoing paving work Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

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 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 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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