Back from a little bit of time off -- hope you're starting to enjoy the holiday season. Happy Chanukah starting this Sunday, for those who observe.
Today's entry involves a question from Stephanie, a reader who has had some issues with an unexpected - and unexplained - closure this week at the Ted Williams Tunnel. I've also got news on how you can help MassDOT and the MBTA give to children in need for the holidays, and the usual list of construction and MBTA diversions.
Next week we'll discuss the very popular question of just how late the MBTA should stay open at night. Some say weekend service needs to be expanded, some say that it's fine the way it is, and others say that it should go 24 hours. If you want to weigh in on the topic and have it included in the entry, email me at commuting.boston at gmail dot com or post your thoughts in the comments below.
There's two EZ pass lanes and three cash lanes at the Ted Williams Tunnel plaza for I-90 westbound. Normally both EZ pass lanes are open but for two days in a row, only one EZ pass lane has been open and the other is blocked off with cones. There's no obvious problem like a road repair or structural challenge in the lane so I assumed it was a problem with the EZ pass reader that would be fixed immediately. Today was day two of the lane closure and there are no signs indicating what the problem is.
I called EZ pass customer service to see how long this problem might persist or what was happening. The CSR indicated they weren't responsible for lane closures and hadn't heard anything but I could call Customer Services at the Department of Transportation. They gave me a number that is out of service unfortunately (617-377-7107). I'm hoping you can help! :-)
Do you know what's happening with the EZ pass lane closure for the Ted Williams Tunnel and how long it might affect the morning commute?
Yikes! Definitely not a good place (especially during rush hour) to have a toll closure. I emailed Michael Verseckes over at the DOT to see what was happening, and he told me that they had to do some digging in order to fix an underground problem:
Toll booths have under ground what are called treadles. What a treadle does is count the axles of each vehicle that passes through the booth. A piece of fiber cable connected to this particular treadle broke and the only way to get at it is to dig it out.
He also mentioned that, while trying to get to the bottom of this problem, the construction crews noticed that the asphalt in the area was "showing signs of wear and tear". So, they apparently decided to kill two birds with one stone and just repave the area while they were at it. Michael says that the reason the toll booth has been blocked off so long is because the new asphalt needed time to set.
He says that the toll booth will be back to normal by 4:00 this afternoon, and there shouldn't be any further closures into the weekend. He also apologized for the inconvenience.
This question is also good to issue a reminder about the new service number for all things transportation here in the state of Massachusetts. If you missed it, I mentioned this in an entry about this time last month. MassDOT is in the process of consolidating their call centers, so if you have questions about anything from MBTA schedules to airport issues to potholes, you can call 857-DOT-INFO (857-368-4636).
Stuff that bus
It's that time of year again, where many of us are looking to give a little extra or help someone in need to ensure they have a happy holiday. MassDOT has announced that they're joining up with the MBTA to get involved in the charitable effort, too.
Between December 10th and 14th, you can take part in their 12th annual "Fill A Bus" program. They ask that you bring new and unwrapped toys for donation - no clothes or toiletries are necessary.
Toys will go to programs such as the Freedom House, Yawkey Boys and Girls Club of Boston, Action for Boston Community Development, and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
The bus will be coming to towns all over Eastern Massachusetts, from Taunton to Lynn. If you happen to be downtown, you can bring toys to South Station for dropoff. A list of locations for where the bus will be accepting toyscan be found here.
Orange Line riders are still dealing with weekday busing for the Assembly Square project, Service is being shuttled 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 make all stops.
Also, there's a special weekend diversion not related to the Assembly Square project on the Orange Line. Necessary track work is putting shuttling into place in both directions between Jackson Square and Forest Hills from the start of service Saturday to the end of service Sunday. Buses will make all stops.
Good news for Red Line riders - if you had planned on sitting on buses all weekend between Harvard and Alewife, you no longer have to. The T says they have cancelled the Floating Slab project work that was scheduled for this weekend. They say they'll reschedule it for sometime next spring.
You'll find slowdowns here...
128 southbound at Lowell Street (Exit 26), Peabody: two right lanes will be closed on Sunday (December 8th) for bridge work from 4:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Expect minor delays.
128 southbound at Brimbal Avenue (Exit 19), Beverly: the right lane will be closed on Friday (December 14th) for guardrail repair.
114 eastbound at Sylvan Street, Peabody: the right lane will be closed from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM for utility work on Wednesday (December 12th).
495 northbound prior to Route 140 (Exit 12), Mansfield: watch for lane closures on Wednesday (December 12th) for bridge inspection.
24 northbound between Route 139, Stoughton (Exit 20) and 128, Randolph: expect lane closures and a rough road surface due to ongoing paving work in place until mid-January 2013.
Dartmouth Street at Beacon Street, downtown Boston: watch for restrictions due to ongoing water main work.
Harrison Avenue near Taber Street, Roxbury: watch for restrictions due to ongoing water main work.
Mass Pike eastbound over 391, Chicopee: the median and shoulder will be closed for ongoing bridge work until further notice.
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.
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.
The author is solely responsible for the content.