The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is reminding the public to plan ahead if traveling this holiday season, make informed decisions before heading out onto the roadways or using mass transit, utilize MassDOT’s many travel tools and resources, and to drive sober and limit distractions if behind the wheel of a vehicle, according to a press release.
“Safety is our greatest priority and we want everyone who is traveling by car, bus, or public transit to reach their holiday destination in order to enjoy their time with friends and family,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “We encourage members of the public to try our online technology resources to find the best time and route for travel and exercise safe driving behavior including minimizing distractions, remaining sober or using a designated driver, and devoting their full attention to the road ahead.”
MassDOT is taking steps to ensure safe and reliable travel for all citizens who utilize transportation systems across the Commonwealth and will be shutting down scheduled roadway construction for the Christmas travel period effective at 12 p.m., Friday, December 22. Normal scheduled construction operations will resume at the start of business on Tuesday, December 26.
“With winter weather expected at times throughout the Christmas holiday period, we advise everyone to check roadway and traffic conditions before traveling,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “Our snow and ice crews will respond as necessary and travelers should reduce their speed during inclement weather, remember our message, ‘Don’t Crowd the Plow,’ and make smart travel decisions so we all can have a safe and happy holiday.”
For traffic and road conditions, drivers may use the following options to make decisions:
- Download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.
- Download Waze, the real-time traffic navigation app that provides motorists with real-time traffic conditions across Massachusetts.
- Visit mass511.com to view travel times, road construction, traffic alerts or crashes along a route. Incidents, road closures, lane closures, real-time live traffic cameras, and weather alerts/forecasts, can all be viewed on the interactive live Traffic Map.
- Dial 511 from a landline or cell phone to hear information on current conditions on major roadways.
- Register for a Mass511 account to create and personalize routes and alerts to be notified of events on those routes ahead of time.
- Check MassDOT Highway Traffic and Travel Resources.
- Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT as incidents that impact traffic flow are generally mentioned in tweets if they occur on the state’s major highways.
The MBTA has also announced the following schedule information:
- Subway, buses, commuter rail and The RIDE will all provide regular Sunday service on Sunday, December 24, and Monday, December 25.
- On Sunday, December 24, Charlestown ferry service will operate on a weekend schedule, and there will be no Hingham or Hull ferry service.
- On Monday, December 25, there will be no Hingham, Hull, or Charlestown ferry service.
- More information can be found by viewing the full MBTA holiday schedule.
Free coffee will be served at the 18 MassDOT service plazas from 10 p.m., Monday, December 25, through 5 a.m., Tuesday, December 26. The plazas serving free coffee include 11 service plazas along I-90 plus plazas along Route 3 in Plymouth, Route 128 in Beverly, Route 128/I-95 in Newton and Lexington, Route 6 in Barnstable, and the Route 24 northbound and southbound plazas.
The High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on I-93 between Boston and Quincy will have normal morning hours this week and will extend its afternoon hours to be open from 2 p.m., to 8 p.m., on Thursday, December 21, and from 1 p.m., to 8 p.m., on Friday, December 22. The HOV lane will be closed on Monday, December 25, and will resume normal operations on Tuesday, December 26.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports that all travel lanes on the Cape Cod Canal’s Sagamore and Bourne bridges will be open Thursday, December 21, through Tuesday, December 26.
For anyone traveling by air during the Christmas holiday, you may continue to use any documents you have used recently to board airplanes. Massachusetts residents will not need a REAL ID credential for air travel until October 2020. In addition, Massachusetts residents with a valid U.S. passport or passport card never need a REAL ID. For more information please visit REAL ID online.
Customers are also advised that the Registry of Motor Vehicles offices are closed for the designated state holiday of Christmas on Monday, December 25. Please visit at any hour of the day, the RMV website: www.massrmv.com . In addition, AAA members now have the opportunity to conduct many RMV services at 33 AAA branch office locations in Massachusetts during AAA normal business hours.
At Boston Logan Airport, travelers should monitor www.massport.com for updated airline and airport information and Transportation Security Administration carry-on luggage regulations, The Massport website allows travelers to check flight status, parking conditions and public transportation options from smartphones or tablets. Massport also encourages travelers to check with their airlines before heading to the airport for the most updated flight status and travel information.
For travelers getting to and from Logan Airport using the Logan Express bus service:
- Braintree, Framingham and Woburn Logan Express buses will run on weekday schedules on Saturday, December 23, and Sunday, December 24, and the Peabody service will operate on a normal weekend schedule.
- On Christmas Day, Monday, December 25, the Braintree, Framingham and Woburn Logan Express buses will run a regular weekday schedule until 2:00 p.m. (inbound and outbound). After 2:00 p.m., buses will run every hour on the hour until midnight. The Peabody service will run on a normal weekday schedule.
- Massport advises passengers parking at the Framingham Logan Express location to allow some additional time to accommodate the likelihood that overflow parking will be in effect.
Drivers are reminded to avoid littering on roadways. Violators are subject to a fine of up to $5,500 for the first offense.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation wishes all members of the public a safe and enjoyable holiday.