BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is encouraging members of the public to plan ahead for the Thanksgiving holiday travel period by recognizing that volumes may be higher at times on roadways throughout the Commonwealth, using the appropriate resources to make informed decisions on route and timing of travel, and considering public transportation if traveling to locations such as Logan Airport.
“We encourage everyone to allow more time than usual to travel to their destinations whether they are driving or taking public transportation,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “The holiday get-away will start before Wednesday afternoon so drivers should consider their departure time and the routes they will take, and members of the public using buses, trains or subways should build more time into their trips. We encourage the use of technology tools such as www.mass511.com or wayfinding resources to make informed decisions about when to leave home.”
MassDOT is taking several 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 Thanksgiving travel period effective at 12 p.m., Wednesday, November 21, per MassDOT’s long-standing policy.
Travel conditions will also be evaluated on Tuesday, November 20, and MassDOT will make adjustments to any ongoing scheduled construction activities as necessary.
“Our first priority is ensuring safe and reliable travel for motorists throughout the Commonwealth,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “We want everyone to reach their travel destination so they can celebrate the holiday with family and friends, so we urge motorists to exercise safe driving habits at all times. Before setting out onto the roadways, all travelers should check traffic and weather conditions using the many available travel tools and make smart decisions on how to reach the places they need to go.”
MassDOT strongly urges all drivers to minimize distractions by turning off or putting away cellphones, traveling the posted speed limit, staying sober and having a designated driver, and devoting their full attention to what is ahead on the road. MassDOT encourages travelers to make an extra effort to be courteous on the roads and report to law enforcement any reckless driving.
Free coffee will be served at the 18 MassDOT service plazas from 10 p.m. Thursday, November 22, through 5 a.m., Friday, November 23. 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 and will extend its hours to be open from 2 p.m., to 8 p.m., on Tuesday, November 20, and from 1 p.m., to 8 p.m., on Wednesday, November 21. The HOV lane will be closed on Thursday, November 22, and Friday, November 23, and will resume normal operations on Monday, November 26.
The Sumner Tunnel Swing Lane will open at 1 p.m., Tuesday, November 20, and will remain open until 5 a.m., Monday, November 26.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District reports that all travel lanes on the Cape Cod Canal’s Sagamore and Bourne bridges will be open throughout the Thanksgiving travel period.
For anyone traveling by air during the Thanksgiving 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.
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 their smartphone or tablet. 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:
• MBTA Silver Line provides service between South Station and Logan’s terminals every 10 minutes. Outbound service from Logan Airport to the South Boston Seaport District and South Station is FREE.
• To accommodate customers traveling to and from Logan International Airport, additional Silver Line 1 service will be offered from Sunday November 17, through Wednesday, November 21, as well as on Friday, November 23.
• MBTA Blue Line provides subway service between points in Boston, North of Boston and Airport Station. Water transportation is also available from Downtown Boston and the Logan dock.
• Massport provides free shuttle service to and from all terminals; the airport rental car center and the MBTA Blue Line Station.
• Logan Express serves 5 locations including Peabody, Framingham, Woburn, Braintree and Back Bay. There are also several bus and taxi options available.
The MBTA has also released the following information regarding travel during the Thanksgiving travel period:
• There will be additional coach cars on select MBTA commuter rail lines leaving downtown Boston stations on Wednesday, November 21.
• Commuter rail lines will operate on a regular weekday schedule on Wednesday, November 21. On Thanksgiving, November 22, commuter rail lines will operate on a Sunday schedule. On Friday, November 23, commuter rail will operate on a regular weekday schedule.
• Subway service will operate on a regular weekday schedule on Wednesday, November 21, and will operate on a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22. On Friday, November 23, subway service will operate on a regular weekday schedule.
• Bus service will operate on a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving Day only.
• The RIDE will provide normal service on Thanksgiving, November 22, but will not offer subscription trips.
• On Wednesday, November 21, Hingham and Hull ferry service will operate on a modified weekday schedule, and Charlestown service will operate on a regular weekday schedule. On Thanksgiving Day, there will be no Hingham, Hull or Charlestown ferry service.
• View the full MBTA holiday schedule.
Customers are also advised that the Registry of Motor Vehicles offices are closed for the designated state holiday of Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 22. Please visit at any hour of the day the RMV online at www.mass.gov/rmv to skip the line and perform many transactions. In addition, AAA members now have the opportunity to conduct many RMV services at numerous AAA branch office locations in Massachusetts during AAA normal business hours.
Drivers are reminded to avoid littering on roadways. Violators are subject to a fine of up to $5,500 for the first offense.
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 Massachusetts Department of Transportation wishes all members of the public a safe and enjoyable holiday.