MassDOT offers advice to holiday travelers

Traffic on I-93 in Hooksett. (Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki)
Traffic on I-93 in Hooksett. (Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki)

MassDOT has released some tips for Boston-area travelers in the hopes of making their holiday commute a smooth one.

Transportation officials are advising residents and visitors to check its online resources, drive with caution and if possible use public transportation over the holiday, and are reminding motorists that I-90 Exit 9 connecting I-84 to Connecticut and New York will likely see heavy traffic this week.

  • Drivers are encouraged to consider travel during the early morning or after 8 p.m. Traffic congestion is also typical at the I-95 and I-495 Turnpike interchanges along with I-495 and I-93 northbound leading into New Hampshire.
  • The I-93 Southeast Expressway HOV lane will open to traffic early on Christmas Eve at 1p.m. to accommodate traffic leaving Boston.
  • Free coffee will be served at all 18 MassDOT service plazas between 10 p.m. on Christmas night, Wednesday, December 25, until 5 a.m. on Thursday, December 26, and between 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Tuesday, December 31, until 5 a.m. on Wednesday, January 1, 2014.
  • MassDOT’s Traffic and Travel Resources page includes links to all MassDOT travel resources. Motorists may sign up for EZPass and avoid cash tolls. Before travel, travelers can visit MassDOT’s online traffic camera webpage to check live traffic cameras across the Commonwealth. The 511 traffic alert system alerts customers to traffic conditions throughout the holiday weekend.

Some winter driving skills and tips include: Driving with headlights on, observing posted speed limits, never drinking and driving, and ensuring everyone is using a seatbelt. Drivers should also clear snow from vehicles before driving, MassDOT said. More information on safe winter driving is available at the MassDOT website.

More travel information:

  • The Army Corp of Engineer’s painting contractors will suspend work on the Sagamore Bridge during the two weeks of Christmas and New Years. All travel lanes will be open Dec. 21, 2013 through Jan. 5, 2014. After the holidays, work will resume on the Sagamore Bridge with lane restrictions Monday through Friday, 8 a.m to 4:30 p.m.
  • The MBTA Christmas Day through New Year’s Day holiday service schedule includes a Sunday service schedule for Wednesday, December 25 and Wednesday, January 1, 2014. The T will provide rush hour level service from 3:00 pm through 2:00 am on New Year’s Eve, December 31. Check out the full T schedule at www.mbta.com.
  • As a reminder, during the busy holiday season, the MassDOT Highway Assistance Patrol Sponsored by MAPFRE I Commerce Insurance will be out on Massachusetts’ major roadways to provide free, limited roadside assistance to drivers in need. They also assist in contacting other first responders and clearing incident debris or traffic congestion.

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