This morning I noticed that the HOV Lane (or as I always call it, the Jay-Z Lane) on 93 south was renamed the “Express Lane”. I didn’t know that I could have used it today even though I was driving by myself! Here’s why…
According to Patrick Marvin from the Communications Office at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, as a result of the Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project, “in order to accommodate travelers during this necessary construction work, MassDOT is opening the I-93 southbound carpool lane between Medford and the Zakim Bridge to all vehicles regardless of the number of occupants. This lane will continue to function as an ‘express lane’ and vehicles in this lane on I-93 southbound will not have access to Exit 28 (Mystic Avenue) or Exit 26 (Storrow Drive).”
Translation, now I can use the carpool lane to get to work every morning! Patrick Marvin from MassDOT wants to remind everyone that this is a “temporary measure during construction and is not permanent.”
Here’s the full press release that details the new lane closures going on with the Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project, which have resulted in this temporary “Express Lane” on 93 south:
Travel Advisory: Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project
Morning of Tuesday, May 14: Route 1 southbound lane closures begin and Route 1 northbound lane closures expand
I-93 south carpool lane between Medford and Boston being opened to all traffic for duration of Tobin/Chelsea Curves Project
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is reminding members of the public of the closure of one of three southbound travel lanes on Route 1 in Chelsea and the Tobin Bridge beginning the morning of Tuesday, May 14. The public is also reminded the one-lane northbound closure on the Tobin Bridge and Route 1 is being expanded by the morning of Tuesday, May 14. MassDOT anticipates that these lane closures will lead to increased travel times on sections of Route 1 northbound and southbound for drivers and MBTA bus customers.
These traffic impacts are associated with MassDOT’s Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project and lane closures will remain in place for approximately two years. Additional overnight lane closures will be necessary throughout the project meaning only one lane of travel may be open during certain evening hours.
In order to accommodate travelers during this necessary construction work, MassDOT is opening the I-93 southbound carpool lane between Medford and the Zakim Bridge to all vehicles regardless of the number of occupants. This lane will continue to function as an “express lane” and vehicles in this lane on I-93 southbound will not have access to Exit 28 (Mystic Avenue) or Exit 26 (Storrow Drive).
“North Shore commuters should be aware that beginning the morning of Tuesday, May 14, a travel lane will be closed on Route 1 southbound in Chelsea, and the lane closure that is already in place on the Tobin Bridge and Route 1 northbound will be expanded,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “MassDOT is carrying out this necessary rehabilitation work in order to ensure the continued use and reliability of Tobin Bridge and Chelsea Viaduct. We appreciate the cooperation and patience of the traveling public and advise everyone to make smart decisions such as considering public transit, using the appropriate technology apps to find the best route and time to travel, and building extra time into their commutes to account for potential roadway congestion.”
Travelers are also reminded of options such as free fares in the inbound direction on the MBTA Silver Line 3 bus line offered at the Chelsea, Bellingham Square, Box District, and Eastern Avenue stops for the duration of construction. In addition, public transit customers will be able to use a CharlieCard to travel between North Station and Chelsea on the Commuter Rail. The MBTA is also running additional MBTA Blue Line trains to increase capacity. These measures are all being funded by MassDOT Highway Division project funds.
MassDOT is also advising the public to also consider using the Haverhill or Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail lines and note that the Haverhill Line historically has parking capacity at Haverhill and Bradford stations. The Newburyport/Rockport Line historically has parking capacity at Newburyport, Salem and Lynn station. Customers can monitor @MBTA_Parking on Twitter for capacity updates and information. In addition, the MBTA has installed a digital parking capacity sign at the Blue Line Wonderland parking lot so drivers approaching the lot can get “real time” information on parking availability.
MassDOT is carrying out work on the Tobin Bridge and Chelsea Curves section of Route 1 at the same time so that the most impactful work will be completed by 2021. If the projects were done at separate times, drivers would be inconvenienced for additional years. This work will eliminate the need for weight restrictions and postings, and MassDOT will use accelerated construction techniques to shorten the overall construction time.
MassDOT encourages the public to be mindful of these impacts and seek alternate routes. Those traveling through the area should reduce speed and use caution. These operations are weather dependent and subject to change without notice.
For more information on traffic conditions travelers are encouraged to:
- Dial 511 before heading out onto the roadways and select a route to hear real-time conditions.
- Visit www.mass511.com, a website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information, access to traffic cameras, and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions.
- Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT to receive regular updates on road and traffic conditions.
- Check parking availability at the T’s 8 largest garages @MBTA_Parking.
- Download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.