‘What gives’ with State Police at routes 16 and 28?

The temporary closure of the Callahan Tunnel caused transportation officials to request state police contingents at spots along Route 16 in Medford, Everett, Chelsea, and Revere to aid detour-relate traffic.
The temporary closure of the Callahan Tunnel caused transportation officials to request state police contingents at spots along Route 16 in Medford, Everett, Chelsea, and Revere to aid detour-relate traffic. –(Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)

Over the past two months, Joy Robinson-Lynch of Cambridge has noticed a contingent of State Police vehicles parked at the intersection of routes 16 and 28 in Medford, their blue lights flashing every day.

“What gives?’’ she asked. “Is this about the airport detour?’’

Brenda Tully was a little less diplomatic: “Just wondering why are we wasting so many tax dollars. . . . Coming into Wellington Circle and Santini Circle, there are at least four cruisers in each spot along the way. If they are there to help people get to the airport, they are doing nothing but sitting in their running cruisers.’’

David Procopio, State Police spokesman, confirmed the police presence was a product of the Callahan Tunnel closure, which began Dec. 27 and is scheduled to continue through March 12.

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Because of the potential congestion resulting from detours to Logan International Airport, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation requested State Police assistance to help guide traffic at spots along Route 16 in Medford, Everett, Chelsea, and Revere. (The troopers, Procopio said, are extra, paid details that don’t diminish normal staffing.)

“Their primary responsibility is to prevent gridlock in these intersections,’’ Procopio wrote. “When gridlock does occur, having the troopers on scene to react to and remedy the situation allows traffic to return more quickly to maximum allowable flow. Keeping the traffic moving relieves pressure from the adjacent interstate highway and makes the commute required by the tunnel closure safer and more efficient.’’

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