BOSTON (CBS) – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has one of the toughest tasks in state government – maintaining, repairing, and modernizing our often-crumbling and archaic roads and bridges.

And in recent years, under Gov. Deval Patrick and now Charlie Baker, they’ve done a much better job of completing difficult, disruptive work in timely fashion and communicating with the public before and during the projects. Think of the bridge replacements over 1-93 and the Mass Pike over by Boston University.

But as you know if you’ve been stuck in this week’s horrendous traffic jams on Storrow Drive westbound by Mass General Hospital, MassDOT isn’t perfect. In fact, in this case, with all due respect, they’ve really stepped in it.

The problem is new road markings sprung on commuters this week with little if any warning as a “pilot program” designed to ease traffic flow in that chronically messed up stretch of Storrow. It’s been a nightmare for years, but MassDOT’s pilot program is making things worse, not better.

“The traffic was backed up all the way to 93 pretty much, and it took me about an hour to get from there to the tunnel to go into Storrow Drive,” one driver said.

May I suggest that the first week of December – an annual period of especially busy traffic into and out of town – might not have been the best choice? How about the week between Christmas and New Year’s instead? Also, the new markings seem to force even more quick merging than before – how is that a formula for smooth sailing?

MassDOT says they’ll be evaluating the results. Allow me to assist – it is a fiasco.

Share your thoughts with me via email at, or use Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

Jon Keller

  1. Theodore Oule says:

    While Mass DOT has their problems, and this one seems to be a self-inflicted one, the changes made to Storrow Drive may not be the whole story.

    We have noticed that coming into Boston from the south has seen significant delays building from the Hingham exit all the way into the city…with and without the HOV lane We’ve also noticed far slower traffic heading south on the SE expressway to the point where from joining at the HOV lane to the Rte 3/93 split can take up to two hours.

    Additionally going overland across town either along the Greenway or via Pearl Street, traffic it takes two or three light cycles to get across an intersection, only to face the same sort of delay at the next traffic signal.

    Something is going on.

    Perhaps it is time to use your position a voice that reaches the community to ask DOT the tough questions as to why, suddenly, things aren’t working right.

    Put one of your I-Team reporters on the issue. And, the next time you feel the urge to issue one of your trademark “road rage” columns, you might actually have some thing informative and constructive to tell your viewers and readers.