The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is encouraging travelers to plan ahead for Thanksgiving, warning traffic volumes may be higher at times on roadways throughout the state, and giving away free coffee at rest stops.
“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.”
Free coffee will be served at the 18 MassDOT service plazas from 10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 22 through 5 a.m. Friday, Nov. 23. The plazas serving free coffee include 11 service plazas along I-90 plus plazas along Route 3, Route 128 in Beverly, Route 128/I-95 in Newton and Lexington, Route 6 in Barnstable, and the Route 24 northbound and southbound plazas.
Pollack said travelers are encouraged to use 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 use transportation systems across the state and will be shutting down scheduled roadway construction for the Thanksgiving travel period, effective at 12 p.m. Wednesday. This is a longstanding MassDOT policy.
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. The department encourages travelers to make an extra effort to be courteous on the roads and report to law enforcement any reckless driving.
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 2-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20 and from 1-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21.
The HOV lane will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 22 and Friday, Nov. 23. Normal operations will resume on Monday, Nov. 26.
The Sumner Tunnel Swing Lane will open at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20 and will remain open until 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 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.
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.
The MBTA Silver Line provides service between South Station and Logan’s terminals every 10 minutes. Outbound service 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 is being offered now through Wednesday and on Friday.
There will be additional coach cars on select MBTA commuter rails leaving downtown Boston stations on Wednesday. Commuter rail lines will operate on a regular weekday schedule on Wednesday, Nov. 21. On Thanksgiving, Nov. 22, commuter rail lines will operate on a Sunday schedule. On Friday, Nov. 23, commuter rail will operate on a regular weekday schedule.
Subway service and bus service will operate on a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving Day. The RIDE will provide normal service on Thanksgiving, Nov. 22 but will not offer subscription trips.
The Registry of Motor Vehicles offices will be closed on Thanksgiving.
Drivers who litter will be subject to a fine of up to $5,500 for the first offense.