All Electronic Tolling and Toll Plaza Demolitions

For Immediate Release
October 24, 2016
Contact MassDOT Press Office: 857-368-8500
 
Massachusetts to Activate All Electronic Tolling October 28
Toll Plaza Demolitions Will Begin This Weekend

 
Boston – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) today hosted a news conference and media tour in Weston to inform the public that plans are on schedule to activate All Electronic Tolling (AET) in the state on Friday, October 28, at 10 p.m., and to immediately deploy equipment to begin the process of demolishing existing toll plazas.  As the program, EZDriveMA, is launched, drivers will begin to be charged tolls after passing under sixteen gantry locations and contractors will be deployed in 23 work zones.  Under EZDriveMA, drivers have the option of using a free E-ZPassMA transponder to receive a toll discount, using an out-of-state transponder, or being invoiced if not using a transponder under the Pay By Plate payment process. 
 
“In preparing for the launch of AET, we are trying to get the word out to the public about what to expect, and putting in place logistics to inform drivers about the work which will be occurring,” said Massachusetts Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “While we recognize that our customers may face some short term inconvenience as the toll booths come down and as we all adjust to this new system, the benefits of improved safety , reduced congestion, and improved air quality will be of long lasting, and significant benefit for the people of the Commonwealth and beyond.”
 
“We are committed to educating the public about the transition to EZDriveMA,” said Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin. “The toll demolition and road reconstruction projects beginning on October 28 will impact travel for motorists along I-90, (the Massachusetts Turnpike), and drivers are encouraged to slow down in these active construction areas, consider traveling at off-peak hours, and evaluate whether mass transit might be a preferred option.” 
 
The first transition to All Electronic Tolling which the public may notice will begin on October 28, at 6:45 p.m., when the existing E-ZPass MA customer service call center will go off-line until 7 a.m., Tuesday, November 1. This outage is necessary in order to update and activate the new EZDriveMA system.  Members of the public with concerns or questions can still email Aetinfo@dot.state.ma.us
 
On October 28, at approximately 8:00 p.m., work zone logistical deployments will be obvious as law enforcement details and contractors will be visible setting up at the existing toll plazas and prepare to mobilize equipment for demolition and signs to inform drivers of the lanes of travel to the right and left sides of existing toll plazas.  Manual toll collection is scheduled to officially end on October 28 at 9:45 p.m., and the existing E-ZPass MA system will stop processing transactions at existing toll plazas.
 
The electronic tolling gantries will then “go-live” at 10:00 p.m., and will begin to collect vehicle information as drivers pass under the gantries above the highway.  The existing tolling websites (www.ezpassma.com and www.paybyplatema.com) will be shut down, and the new EZDriveMA website will be activated for informational purposes only. On-line services, such as signing up for an E-ZPass MA account, viewing customer’s existing accounts, and paying Pay By Plate invoices for the Tobin Bridge or toll violations will be unavailable until Tuesday, November 1, at 7 a.m. 
 
To accommodate the needs of customers from 10:00 p.m., on October 28, to 7 a.m., on November 1, the following walk-in customer service locations will be open for in-person assistance and account signups. These transponders will not be activated until up to 5 days later: 
 
East Boston – 145 Havre Street 
Saturday, Oct .29: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 30: 8 a. m. – 2 p.m. 
Monday, Oct. 31: 7a.m. – 7 p.m.
 
Natick – Service Plaza on I-90, (the Massachusetts Turnpike), Eastbound at Mile Marker 117
Saturday, Oct. 29: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 30: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 31: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
 
Auburn – 27 Midstate Drive 
Saturday, Oct. 29: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 30: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 31: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
 
Lee – Service Plaza on I-90, (the Massachusetts Turnpike), Eastbound, between Exits 1 and 2
Saturday, Oct. 29: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 30: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 31: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
 
Ludlow – Service Plaza on I-90, (the Massachusetts Turnpike), Eastbound
Saturday, Oct. 29: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 30: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 31: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
 
Saugus – 1201 Broadway, Route 1 South 
Saturday, Oct. 29: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 30: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 31: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
 
Charlton – Service Plaza on I-90, (the Massachusetts Turnpike), Eastbound
Saturday, Oct. 29: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 30: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 31: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. 
 
Framingham – Service Plaza on I-90, (the Massachusetts Turnpike), Westbound
Saturday, Oct. 29: 7 a.m. – 7pm
Sunday, Oct. 30: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 31: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
 
Additionally, in-person sign up will still be available at any RMV and Massachusetts AAA location during their normal business hours.  For a complete list of locations and hours please visit www.mass.gov/ezpassma.
 
MassDOT will be informing the public about in-person customer service opportunities, the progress of toll plaza demolition, new lanes of traffic patterns, on I-90, and other AET developments with the use of real-time signboards along roads, via its Twitter feed, (@MassDOT), and through other communication tools.  
 
In general, the schedule for toll plaza demolition will be as follows:
 
On October 28, at 10:00 p.m., crews stationed at every toll plaza location along I-90, will begin setting up the new traffic patterns, pavement markings, and electronic message boards for the initial stage of toll plaza demolition. MassDOT will deploy 64 “arrow boards” along I-90, and approximately 24 lift trucks state-wide.  The lift trucks will assist employees in covering existing “Cash” and “E-ZPass” signs at plazas and the unveiling of new gantry rate signs.  An estimated 107 law enforcement details and more than 100 workers, including laborers, foremen, and supervisors will be utilized at “go-live” time.
 
On October 29, by 5:00 a.m., the appropriate toll demolition configurations will be in-place at every toll plaza location statewide.  During the day on the 29th and on Sunday, October 30, contractors will continue preparing the construction zones at 23 locations, and late Sunday will begin demolishing the existing toll plazas. Phase one of plaza demolition will remove the center areas of the plazas as traffic is detoured to the right and to the left of the center toll plaza areas
 
The process for removing existing toll plazas is occurring in phases to ensure the safety of drivers and work zone crews and to minimize traffic disruption.  The first phase beginning the weekend of October 28 will continue until all center areas of all I-90 toll plazas are removed.  Given that the toll plazas are located on top of concrete pads and have tunnels underneath, the phase one demolition will include relocation of utilities, removal of concrete pads, the filling of tunnel areas, (passages that manual toll collectors use to travel between booths and buildings), and the paving of the center lanes of travel after center plaza infrastructure is removed and tunnels are filled in.  Traffic patterns will be shifted at the end of the first phase of demolition, and will involve shifting vehicles onto the newly paved travel lanes where the centers of the toll plazas once stood.  At all times, drivers will be warned to drive slow and proceed at slow speeds in these active construction zones. The first phase of toll plaza demolition work is scheduled to be completed by November 22.  
 
The second phase of work is scheduled to begin immediately following phase one when demolition work will begin on the toll plaza booths and tunnels to the right and left of center.  In this phase, toll administration buildings will be demolished, ramp geometry and pavement will be reconstructed, and signage and pavement markings will be modified for a final configuration. At all times drivers will be warned to drive slow and proceed at slow speeds in these active construction zones. 
 
Weather permitting, toll plaza demolition activities will occur throughout the winter months.  It is anticipated that all toll plaza infrastructure will be removed by the end of calendar year 2017.
 
MassDOT is sensitive to the needs of local residents and will be monitoring construction noise levels throughout the demolition process and mitigation measures will be applied as needed.  Industry parameters will be followed for night-time operations to lessen the impact on local communities.
 
For the first phase of toll plaza demolition work, MassDOT will deploy more than 200 police details and they will be at work zone locations around the clock, seven days a week. MassDOT is establishing a Central Command Center at its District 6 headquarters building in Boston so that work zone activity and electronic tolling operations can be closely monitored by project managers and engineers, in close collaboration with Massachusetts State Police and other key stakeholders.  Daily phone calls will take place to ensure MassDOT is aware of and addressing all concerns.

MassDOT has developed a robust traffic monitoring plan during these operations that will utilize continuous vehicle volume and travel data to measure the impact of these operations and any potential diversion as a result.  Resources such as the Real Time Traffic Information System (Go-Time) and Waze will also be utilized for situational awareness and to improve traffic operations.
 
MassDOT is moving to all electronic tolling to improve safety, relieve traffic congestion, and reduce greenhouse gases.  During the transition to EZDriveMA, drivers will need to travel at reduced speeds in work zones and are asked to allow extra time to reach their destinations, demonstrate common courtesies when merging and changing lanes of travel, minimize distractions such as the use of cell phones, and consider travel at off-peak hours or travel on mass transit.  
 
Drivers without a transponder may obtain one free-of-charge, by going on-line before the evening of October 28 by visiting www.mass.gov/ezpassma.com.  Members of the public who would like a transponder while the website is transitioning and closed down the weekend of October 28, may visit a walk-in customer service location as mentioned previously.
 
For more information about gantry rates and for other details about the implementation of the EZDriveMA program, please visit https://www.massdot.state.ma.us/highway/TollInformation/AllElectronicTolling 
 
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Highway Department Full-Time Positions Open

The Blandford Highway Department is accepting applications for full-time Highway Department employees.

Applicants must possess a Class A or B CDL. A 2A or 2B Hoisting license is preferred.

Download an employment application or visit the Blandford Highway Department (1 Russell Stage Road). Please submit applications to highway@townofblandford.com or Blandford Highway Department, 1 Russell Stage Road, Suite 10, Blandford MA, 01008.

TOWN OF BLANDFORD IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER

Dog Licenses

The Town Clerk’s office is in the process of reviewing the Blandford dog population vs the licensure for dogs obtained to date. All townspeople who have not yet obtained a dog license are encouraged to do so prior to the extended August 15 deadline. After August 15, the state mandated $50 fine for unlicensed dogs will be enforced.

Local veterinarians provide proof of rabies vaccination to the town clerk’s office. In the event that you are not able to find your copy of your certificate, the clerk’s office may have a copy on record.
Fees are $5 for neutered or spayed dogs and $10 for unaltered dogs. Tags are available during business hours Monday 5 to 7 p.m.