It's been long-standing knowledge that one of the worst traffic days of the year is the day before Thanksgiving. Everyone and their mother, dog, and best friend all hit the roads at the same time and clog things up to immense levels. In fact, according to AAA, there are going to be 43.4 million people on the highways nationwide this year -- so you can imagine that a significant portion of those are going to be messing things up here in New England.FULL ENTRY
When Boston gets busy, we don't mess around.
Not only is some sort of baseball game happening today (I kid, I kid) ... but President Obama will be coming into town to speak about the Affordable Care Act. But hold on -- that's not all -- Drake will be performing tonight at the TD Garden. All of this, combined, should make for a crazy evening traffic-wise -- especially if the weather continues to be drizzly and messy. However, it could likely not be as bad as you would think. Let's tackle these events one by one:
While the countdown most people have been talking about is the one for the government shutdown, Western Massachusetts residents who are frequent users of the Mass Pike are dreading another upcoming date: October 15th.
That's the date tolls will begin to be collected between Exits 1 and 6 -- it will now cost you $1.75 to travel between 291 and the New York state line, and $5.85 to travel the entire length of the Pike. Don't forget, though -- there's a special step you have to take if you're a Western Massachusetts resident who already uses EZ-Pass.FULL ENTRY
So tonight I took a ride over the Longfellow Bridge on my way home from work. It's going to be the last time for a while that I'll be able to scoot over to Cambridge that way, as they'll be shutting down Cambridge-bound traffic starting Saturday. For up to three years.FULL ENTRY
There's been word all week about the DOT closing down two popular ramps to the O'Neill Tunnel and Zakim Bridge northbound for work over the weekend. However, the wet weather has foiled the plans, and it looks like that won't be happening.
Michael Verseckes of the DOT says the work was going to be taking place on the ramps from Haymarket Square and the Sumner Tunnel. They were set to be closed at 8:00 PM tonight and 10:00 PM tomorrow night. There's been no word as to when the work will be rescheduled for, but of course, when I find out, I'll pass it on.
Keep in mind, though - there's more in the way of closures coming up in the next few days...FULL ENTRY
UPDATE (10:55 AM): State police are reopening the Mass Pike in both directions as I type. Should be completely opened by about 11:15. Heavy delays remain in place, so give yourself lots of extra time. Storrow Drive is going to be gridlocked, too, on the westbound side because of that lane closure at the Hatch Shell for the Children's Hospital Walk.
... at least downtown. Just passing it along that, if you were planning on taking the Pike through the Prudential Tunnel this morning, it's not going to happen.
State police have shut down the tunnel in both directions for a variety of reasons. Their Twitter account cites safety reasons - it's been pitch black in there since early this morning and the ventilation systems are down too. Plus, NStar crews likely have to access the area to get to the Scotia Street substation where this snafu started.
The Department of Transportation has reported that traffic eastbound is being detoured at Exit 18 (Allston Brighton tolls). Westbound traffic will be detoured coming out of the Ted Williams onto the Expressway southbound. Storrow Drive is going to be your best bet for an alternate but keep in mind that the right lane westbound will be closed through most of the morning into the afternoon by the Hatch Shell due to an event there.
So far there is no estimated time of reopening, but NStar has reported that the lights will hopefully be back on between 12-1 this afternoon. I'll let you know when it does.
Here in the traffic operations center, we usually see the busiest traffic days around major holidays - not that Mother's Day isn't one, we all love our moms - but more like Thanksgiving, Columbus Day, Memorial Day, etc. So upon reading the news that today could possibly be the busiest traffic day of the year, some of us were a little perplexed.
Mother's Day? Really?FULL ENTRY
You may have noticed I haven't blogged since Marathon Monday. Where does one begin with the past week and a half we've had in this city? I'm sitting here at my keyboard trying to answer that question, and I honestly don't know.
I can tell you that, as both a city resident and a member of the media, it's been hectic on many levels on my end. It's nice to finally see life starting to ease back into some semblance of normalcy - which includes talking with you about transportation. There's a little bit of everything in today's entry as we get back into the swing of things. I can only hope that you and yours are well and coping as best as possible after the terrible events at the marathon. For those reading from out of town - thank you for all of your positive energy and love. #bostonstrong
Now, let's talk about some closures we've got coming up over the next few days... starting with major shutdowns through a chunk of Cambridge today. Regular construction lists will come back starting up next week, by the way.FULL ENTRY
Ahhh, Marathon Monday. For many, it's a chance to seize the day, power through 26.2 miles and have bragging rights for the rest of their lives. For others, it's a chance to set up shop along the marathon route, eat a bunch of tasty food and have some drinks, rest, and relax. Others may use the day to check out Patriot's Day activities set up around Eastern Massachusetts. (It's looking to be a gorgeous day for re-enactments, should the forecast hold.)
However, it's one of the biggest days for traffic reporters here in Boston. We'll be glued to cameras and map sensors trying to get you to where you have to go among the sea of road closures and public transit diversions that will inevitably be set up. (Anyone want to bring us some cheeseburgers or something?) It's going to be a doozy of a travel day, that's for sure. (By the way, if you're new to the area, don't forget to check out the primer I put together last Marathon Monday to help you get around.)FULL ENTRY
I'm just going to throw this out there: this is not going to be a pleasant week for many commuters.
In fact, this week is going to be the start of headaches that will be sticking around for weeks - if not months - to come... and many of you will be affected. The big projects getting going this week are going to be in Cambridge and Needham, as well as on the Tobin and Sagamore bridges. We've been talking about the Tobin and Sagamore work for the past couple of weeks, so that's been expected. River road commuters, though - heads up...FULL ENTRY